RI Mediators Association 

Advancing Quality Mediation in Rhode Island

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Speaking of Mediation

  • Tuesday, March 09, 2021 8:00 PM | Anonymous

    PATIENCE v LAW SURVEY 2021-03-09

    Last week’s email asked folks what they say is the most important characteristic for a mediator and they were given three choices to choose from: PATIENCE; KNOWLEDGE OF THE LAW or OTHER

    The survey generated a total of 72 clicks or responses from 48 people responding to the survey.  That is the largest number of respondents for any previous RIMA Survey.    

    Some people selected “PATIENCE”, some selected “KNOWLEDGE OF THE LAW”, and some selected “OTHER”.  Counting Clicks, the breakdown looks like this:

    With 47% of clicks for “PATIENCE’; 30% of Clicks for “KNOWLEDGE OF THE LAW” AND 28% of clicks for “OTHER”. 

    The result is not surprising.  After all, in her 2015 keynote speech "Keys to a Successful Mediation" before the RI Mediators Association, Hon. Alice Gibney, Presiding Justice of RI Superior Court, emphasized “Mediator Patience” as a central characteristic she had observed, over the years, in successful mediations. 

    I guess we always intended to look a little deeper into the responses for several reasons:

    At first glance, the survey presents Binary Choice – PATIENCE or THE LAW

    In appearance, the choices are stark and “PATIENCE” is presented first and in the top position. Did that influence people’s choice?   

    Would people reject the idea of this either/or style of presentation

    There was no context created for the questions as presented, nor was there any quantitative or qualitative context in response to choices.  People were thanked for responding, and left on their own with whatever feelings they brought into the survey.

    Noting that some people voted more than once, we wondered what was their intent?  ow stromg was their intent? Were they trying to make a strong statement or merely clicking on everything? 

    We then attempted to “Normalize” the Survey

    It seems clear that people voted with intent with a Law Professor clicking “PATIENCE”, “PATIENCE”, “PATIENCE” – definitely showing intent.

    The 30% choosing “OTHER” were, perhaps, screaming “It’s more complicated than that”   

    E-Mail your thoughts to Exec@RIMediators.org 

    Members may post comments below.

  • Tuesday, January 22, 2019 8:00 AM | Anonymous
    Marriage is become more selective, and more stable, even as attitudes toward divorce are becoming more permissive, and cohabitation has grown less stable.  The U.S. is progressing toward a system in which marriage is rarer, and more stable, than it was in the past, representing an increasingly central component of the structure of social inequality according to the following article.


  • Monday, December 18, 2017 5:18 PM | Anonymous

    "Stories Mediators Tell" video of Kenneth R. Feinberg, Esq. presenting to the American Bar Association Section of Dispute Resolution: Mediation Week Conference.

    An interesting take by a nationally renowned (lawyer) mediator whileaddresing the ABA. 

    Kenneth R. Feinberg, Esq: "Nothing I Learned in Law School prepared me for being a Mediator"


    (Direct Play of this video has since been blocked by ABA)  





  • Wednesday, March 01, 2017 8:00 AM | Frank Geremia

    In one of the most thoughtful articles this reader has reviewed, Attorney Kristen Sloan Maccini lays out a context for lawyers to decide on the use of a mediator to serve their client's best interests and suggests, although "mediation can be very hard work for the parties and mediator, ... it has the capacity to achieve disputing parties’ goals with a comparatively small investment of time and money". 

    The Article appeared in RI Bar Journal January/February 2017, and in it she points out that "some lawyers believe mediation is the same thing as case settlement. This is not true, although case settlement often results from successful mediation".  

    The article presents some background and recommends 4 questions that may be helpful when considering mediation on behalf of your clients:

    "1. Are you willing to work from an exploration of ultimate interests rather than entrenched positions?

    2. Are you confident of your client’s ability to articulate those interests?

    3. Can you establish a role for yourself that supports this process?

    4. Are you willing to accept that there is no single truthful or right outcome?"

    If you have considered these questions and respond mostly in the affirmative, you may wish to speak to a mediator about how he/she may be able to help you and your clients. 

    "A skilled mediator can manage the process such that parties move away from entrenched positions and become able to articulate their underlying interests, needs and priorities, and eventually, move towards a jointly acceptable resolution."

    Kristen Sloan Maccini

    If trust in a mediator is an issue for you or your client, consider that Bernard Mayer, a leader in the field on conflict resolution, believes that “mediators change the dynamic of the conflict in four ways:”   

    “First, mediators bring a different structure to the conflict. People will present their cases differently in front of a third party and mediators usually set a structure for communication, giving each party time to talk.

    Second, mediators bring their commitment, vision and humanity to the interaction. Mediators have faith in mediation as a form of conflict resolution and their optimism that an agreement can be made affects the process.

    Third, mediators bring sets of skills. Since mediators deal with conflict daily, they learn skills such as reframing and analysis to identify issues and options. This often has a comforting effect on the parties involved.

    Fourth, mediators bring sets of values and ethics. This helps set a foundation that hopefully brings trust, respect and comfort to the parties and the process.”  

    The full Article is available on-line at

     "When Is Mediation a Good Choice for Your Client"

    (reprinted with permission from The RI Bar Association)

    Rhode Island Bar Journal January/February 2017

  • Monday, August 31, 2015 8:35 AM | Anonymous

    Prof. Bruce Kogan, RWU Law School, posted to his blog on 07/08/2015 - Why Mediation?
     “Why do you do this?" is a question that Prof. Kogan says he is often asked "in the midst of a contentious mediation."  

    He goes on to say "Whatever the reasons for the conflict, or the myriad of issues that may be involved – at some point in certain particularly intense mediations, the parties will turn to me and ask me why I spend my time and effort listening to their bickering with or even shouting at each other.  This is a really good question and one that I have often asked myself over my now 30 years of mediating.  

    My answer to that question makes me focus on both the work and worth of mediation. 

    Mediating is not easy work.  It requires you to be comfortable in the middle of other people’s conflicts.  It takes complete focus and the ability to process in real-time everything that is occurring in an already complex and rapidly changing interpersonal dynamic.  It requires patience, persistence, objectivity and creativity to help guide antagonists away from focusing on the past bad history to the possibilities for their future.  As my late friend Kathy Birt said:  'It is not about how you got into this mess, but rather how you get out of it.' 

    Whether the parties are able to come to enough common ground to reach a settlement (which happens most of the time) or not, I can see the worth or value of mediation for myself and for them.  They have had the opportunity to talk to and listen to each other and to try to solve their own problem, rather than have a judge impose a solution on them.

    I have done my best to create that opportunity – and it really feels good when they settle." 

     Read more of Prof. Kogan's Blog at: http://law.rwu.edu/blog/why-mediation   

    What do you think of when asked "Why Mediation?" What do you think about when reflecting on "the work and worth of Mediation"? 

    You can send your thoughts to : exec@RIMediators.org   

  • Thursday, January 30, 2014 10:59 AM | Anonymous

    Practice and Mentoring 

    Malcolm Gladwell in his book Outliers puts forward the concept that it takes about 10,000 hours of dedicated practice to truly master a skill, and that the biggest factor in success is not innate talent or blind luck, but rather dedication to one's chosen craft.

    As a busy practitioner, your challenge is how to find the time to complete your 10,000 hours in order to become an proficient in your field.

    All it takes is "practice, practice, practice."

    Of course, experience in the field helps you reach the 10,000 hour mark, but the combination of classroom learning, coupled with coached practice, can propel you into the master category.

    Now, you can find the time.

    Thousands of practitioners have taken  the opportunity to practice their skills in order to become experts in their fields. When you seek out opportunities to engage, you'll find the time to combine classroom learning and coached practice. Workshops feature dynamic lectures, negotiation exercises, and real-world case studies.

    Take every "opportunity to observe experts demonstrate mediation models and skills, and to practice those skills in simulations, and to receive feedback from the experts."

    Edward M. Neafsey, Former Superior Court Judge

    State of New Jersey


  • Thursday, August 22, 2013 2:57 AM | Anonymous

    The United States District Court for the District of Rhode Island will hold its 4th District Conference – Creativity and the Courts – on Thursday, October 10, 2013.

    The featured speaker will be the Honorable Sandra Day O’Connor, retired Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.

    The one-day Conference will be held at the Omni Providence Hotel, One West Exchange Street, Providence, Rhode Island. CLE credits will be offered.

    Registration and information will be available on August 27, 2013 on the Court’s website.

  • Wednesday, February 01, 2012 4:00 PM | Anonymous

    by David A. Wollin, Esq. (appeared in the RI Bar Journal, Volume 60, Number 4, January/ February 2012)
    "Under the leadership of Presiding Justice Alice Gibney, the Superior Court has done yeoman’s work in moving civil cases through the judicial system. These recent efforts are designed to reduce the backlog of cases and ensure that litigants receive their day in court in a timely manner. As former Chief Justice Warren Burger has observed, “A sense of confidence in the courts is essential to maintain the fabric of ordered liberty for a free people,” and one of the main things that could “destroy that confidence and do incalculable damage to society: that people come to believe that inefficiency and delay will drain even a just judgment of its value.”  In that spirit, I offer ten proposals for reforming current practice to augment the commendable efforts being undertaken in the Superior Court. Many of these proposals can be implemented immediately. A few require retooling of existing procedures. Each one owes its origin to the federal system, the experience of other state court systems or recent developments in our own court. 
    1. Mandatory Mediation 
    Courts are designed to resolve conflict. They can do so in a number of ways, most notably through full-blown litigation or alternative dispute resolution (ADR). The Superior Court’s highly successful “Settlement Week” is an excellent example of the latter approach. 
    Mediation is also required in medical malpractice cases.
    There is no reason why ADR cannot occur early on in every case.
    Mediation should be required after a lawsuit has been pending for three months, even if a dispositive motion is pending. The mediation should be scheduled within the succeeding three months and require the presence of the parties. The parties can draw on the mediation services available in the court system or retain a private mediator if they so choose.
    With the Rhode Island Bar Association’s cooperation, mediators who will need to be recruited should be given Continuing Legal Education credit for each case mediated.
    The benefits of mediation are legion. In broadest terms, mediation is less expensive and more expeditious than litigation and eliminates the need for appeals.
    Parties tend to be more satisfied with outcomes upon which they have mutually agreed than those imposed upon them by a judicial decision-maker such as a judge or jury.
    The process also allows for the parties to have more control over the outcome and to craft their own customized agreements to cover the spectrum of disputed issues. In this way, the parties can feel they have a greater voice in the final result and this, in turn,
    enhances the prospect of future compliance with the terms of the settlement".
    (The article continues with other recommendations)... 

Rhode Island Mediators Association
9 Juniper Court
Bristol, RI 02809



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