2016 Fall Conference Workshop Descriptions
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 5, 2016
The 28th Annual SCMA Conference, entitled “Discourse & Diplomacy: From Interpersonal Conflict to International Relations” will take place on Saturday, November 5, 2016 at Pepperdine University School of Law in Malibu, CA.
This year’s keynote speaker, and recipient of the Cloke-Millen Peacemaker of the Year Award, is the Honorable George J. Mitchell, former Majority Leader of the United States Senate. He will introduced and presented with the award by Forest “Woody” Mosten.
With Senator Mitchell’s illustrious accomplishments as a diplomat in mind, the goal of this year’s conference is to explore how we as mediators can better employ our communication skills and our empathy to fulfill our promise as peacemakers — whether in our personal lives, developing a parenting plan between divorcing parents, resolving litigated disputes or on the world stage between hostile countries. From the ongoing battles over religious freedom laws to the rancor and divisiveness which have characterized this year’s political debates, there has never been a greater need for the wisdom of trained mediators.
OPENING PLENARY (9:00am – 10:15am)
- Special Keynote Speaker Former Senator George Mitchell
SESSION ONE (10:30am – 11:45am)
From Interpersonal Conflict To Diplomacy: Where Does Court Connected Mediation Fit In?
From interpersonal conflict to international relations, where does court connected ADR fit in? Two federal court ADR program administrators/staff mediators will describe their court programs and the distinct characteristics of this mediation forum.
Perhaps somewhat uniquely, the goal and promise of court connected mediation may be the fairness of the process. How is court connected mediation different from other mediation forums and why is this important? What characteristics of mediation should court ADR programs promote? What practices should mediators in court connected ADR programs be encouraged to use?
In responding to these questions, the presenters will discuss results of surveys evaluating the mediation process in federal court, and rely on research that measures the attitudes of participants who use court connected ADR. They will try to engage the workshop audience in a conversation about the impact of participants’ experiences with court connected mediation on our justice system.
- Gail Killefer, ADR Program Director, US District Court for the Central District of California
- Robyn Weinstein, ADR Administrator, US District Court for the Eastern District of New York
- Judge Jay C. Gandhi, United States Magistrate Judge for the Central District of California
The Diplomacy of Communicating First Numbers in the Commercial Dispute: Options, Tools, and Strategies Essential to Effective Mediation
This workshop will explore why the initial offer and demand can be of profound significance when pursuing resolution through the distributive bargaining process. Among the topics to be discussed are:
- Who goes first? Which party starts the bargaining process where no pre-mediation negotiations have taken place?
- The role of the mediator in the development and presentation of initial demands and offers
- The action/reaction nature of distributive bargaining and how first numbers can either favorably or adversely influence the negotiation process
- Unique first number issues presented in multi-plaintiff and/or multi-defendant cases
- Pre-mediation settlement discussions and their effect on the distributive bargaining process. What happens when plaintiff begins a mediation with a demand higher than one previously communicated to the defense, or a defendant makes an initial offer lower than that previously communicated to the plaintiff?
- Bracketing as part of the presentation of opening demands and offers
The panel will explore techniques such as anchoring, priming, pre-conditions to mediation, timing, coaching, and how to get out of the slow lane towards a productive mediation session. They will also discuss communication skills mediators can employ to avoid rancor and divisiveness, and to express empathy through numbers. Finally, the panel members will present practical and invaluable advice on managing the client’s actions, reactions, emotions and expectations during the negotiation process.
This workshop was presented to great success at the International Academy of Mediators conference held in Queenstown, New Zealand, March 2016, and the ABA Dispute Resolution Conference in New York, April, 2016.
- Jan Frankel Schau Esq.
Schau Mediation ADR Services, Inc. Los Angeles, CA
Distinguished Fellow International Academy of Mediators
Past President Southern California Mediators Association
- Lee M. Jacobson Esq.
Jacobson, Hansen, and McQuillan APC
Vice President and Membership Chair
International Academy of Mediators
Restorative Justice In The Juvenile Justice System
In contrast to conventional justice, restorative justice seems to offer more to offenders, victims, and other participants because it utilizes the affected community to lend support to the underlying issues the offender and victim face. It meets the offender and victim where they are, while offering rehabilitation from the crime and assistance to the victim in addressing personal needs to not re-offend. The exact definition of Restorative Justice varies from person to person. However, the values are mainly universally accepted. Restorative justice should promote healing and foster respect to all involved, including society. Restorative Justice consists of three main principles: (1) Encounter with stakeholders and community members, (2) Repair (includes making amends), and (3) Transformation of thought and approach by the victim, offender, all stakeholders, and the community. When restorative justice accomplishes these three principles, an offender is significantly less likely to re-offend. Therefore, society should place a high level of importance on juvenile offenders because if they are not rehabilitated, society will pay a high price for the offenders’ life of crime and incarceration. Additionally, a “restorative justice model could ameliorate the harsh impact of our current penal system on youth.”
SESSION TW0 (1:00pm – 2:15pm)
When Boomers and Their Siblings (Still) Don’t Know How To Play Nice: The Challenges of the Elder Care Mediation Field
Elder care mediation is a specialized mediation practice that differs in many respects from most civil and community mediations. It poses its own range of challenges as well as rewards. Some of the areas we will discuss and invite discussion include:
- What is elder care mediation?
- Learning the lingo and becoming part of the elder services community: What participants expect you to bring to the table. Referral sources for an ever-changing clientele
- The perplexing challenges of convening: How to encourage family members to participate in a voluntary process
- Lawyers: A love/hate relationship. Lawyers can be a great source of referrals, but they can also completely change the dynamic of a family mediation
- You want me to go where??? The pros and cons of not maintaining office space
- Sit down and shut up: How to keep everyone at the table talking about uncomfortable subjects in an emotionally charged environment. Why shuttle diplomacy doesn’t usually work with families
- Ethical dilemmas of non-mandatory reporters: How to maintain trust and confidentiality amidst suspected elder abuse. (We would conclude the session by breaking into small groups to discuss selected ethical dilemmas, the results of which would be presented to all session attendees)
- Cynthia Saffir, Owner and Elder Care Mediator with Elder Resolution Partners, LLC
- Marci Barrett, Owner and Elder Care Mediator with Elder Resolution Partners, LLC
Mediating With Memory
How does memory impact dispute resolution? What can we learn from the science of memory to apply to our mediation practice? Memory impacts every mediation. Cases are not settled when parties are stuck with “what was said” and “how it was said” or “how it made them feel.” How can we as mediators and lawyers in mediation work more effectively with memory to resolve conflicts? This presentation will tackle these questions and how memory is seen and perceived differently across cultures. The presenter has both national and international practical experience to lead a discussion on the topic. Presentation materials include tool kit and a resource guide.
- Sukhsimranjit Singh, Assistant Professor of Law and Practice Associate Director, Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution
Emotional Intelligence in Mediation: Enhancing Mediator Influence & Effectiveness
As William James said at the turn of the last century, “The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter his or her life by altering his or her attitudes of mind, that literally feeling differently will allow us to think differently about any given situation.” As mediators, a key function is to help parties in conflict think differently about their situation so they can reach resolution. Thinking differently means recognizing the emotion that drives one’s thoughts. Attorney Mediators Harold Coleman and Matthew Argue team up with Psychologist Mediator Dr. Debra Dupree to uncover how “EI” Awareness enhances the mediation process, how the Mediator can influence parties more effectively, and the importance of surfacing emotions constructively in mediation.
This workshop is packed with rich concepts and techniques for the Mediator to put to immediate use. What participants will learn include: 1) The difference between “conflict” and “dispute;” 2) The Neuroscience underlying Emotions in Mediation; 3) Basic “EI” concepts to surface the emotional content in mediation; 4) Recognize how emotions drive decision making; and 5) What happens when emotions “HIJACK” rational thought and decision making.
Understanding Emotional Intelligence gives mediators a valuable and powerful framework for asking the right questions that lead to meaningful resolution. Learn what “EI” can do for you! Studies show EI is strong predictor of job performance…. A study found that partners in a multinational consulting firm who scored higher than the median on an EI measure produced $1.2 million more in business than other partners did.
Is it worth it to you to develop your “EI?” Attend this powerful workshop to find out your “EI” and put it to work immediately
- Harold Coleman, Jr., Esq. Senior Vice President Executive Director and Mediator American Arbitration Association Mediation.org
- Matthew Argue, Esq. President, One Mediator, Inc.
- Dr. Debra Dupree President, Relationships-at-Work, Inc.
Workshop 7 & 8
THIS IS A SPECIAL TWO PART WORKSHOP FOR SESSIONS 2-3 (1:45-3:45)
Mediator Diplomacy In Community Relations
You are invited: LISTEN to facilitators share experiences of successful community diplomacy initiatives in Los Angeles and PARTICIPATE in a Facilitated Dialogue on what SCMA mediators can do to join in building sustainable community engagement across conflicting differences.
How can we as mediators of diverse styles further impact the growing social stresses that pull many communities apart? With our intention toward diplomacy and with our trans-formative skills how can more of us join with, participate in and design pro-active initiatives to enhance community relations across Los Angeles? How, when, where, and which community initiatives can we support? How can we listen dynamically to communities we may be strangers to? What further skills do we need to meet existing tensions in our communities with mediative diplomacy?
This session begins with a presentation on community conflict facilitation, including Days of Dialogue/The Future of Policing, Jewish-Palestinian Dialogue, Youth at Risk and Women + Culture. Following this presentation we will form small clusters of workshop participants for dialogue to be facilitated by experienced community facilitators. We will consider our unique daily experiences of conflict, identify our resources and explore the ways we may offer our diplomacy skills to positively impact our local communities. Collaborative, inclusive and reflexive ways to engage conflict towards transforming community relations are needed. Imagine the social change that can happen if more mediators considered moving in this direction.
- Dorit Cypis, Artist, Educator, Mediator communication consulting for several local educational and cultural agencies MBB, SCMA, ACR member
- Elahe Amani
- Estera Bosca, M.A., L.C.S.W.
- Jill Frank, MBA
SESSION THREE (2:30pm – 3:45pm)
Cross Cultural Conflict: Anticipate the Minefield
In our multicultural society, most of our clients, colleagues and counterparts will come from at least one different culture. Our culture informs how we see ourselves, how we see other people, and how we interact with those around us. Being aware of our own culture and the culture of others, and understanding the many ways in which cultural elements influence how we and others communicate and behave, is essential to become a more competent professional and human being. “You are a culture of one.” This interactive workshop will provide participants with a broader and richer perspective of themselves, their environment, and the potential minefield of cross-cultural interactions. Participants will:
- Examine a selection of different cultures beyond national origin and religion including: gender, socio-economic situation, urban or rural upbringing, family background, age, education, language, national history, and corporate culture
- Identify the cultures that are part of their own unique personality and how those make each person a “culture of one”
- Dig way below the surface of culturally appropriate greetings and conversation topics, and—through a fun case study (involving a multicultural team of mergers & acquisitions attorneys and their client)—examine culturespecific behaviors and differences in areas including: communication styles, relationship to power and hierarchies, risk tolerance and individualism/collectivism
- Learn how ignorance of cultural influences, stereotyping, judgment, unspoken expectations, and failure to communicate can cause unnecessary conflict
Participants will walk away from this workshop with:
- An increased awareness of the many unexpected ways culture finds expression in our interactions with others,
- A heightened sensitivity to the potential landmines in cross-cultural interactions
- A simple tool everyone can use immediately to navigate the cross-cultural minefield
- Elisabeth Fisher, Mediator and Conflict Coach in private practice
- Jacqueline Oliveira, Intercultural Consultant for global teams at Fortune 500 companies; adjunct faculty at UCSB Extension, Antioch University and Middlebury Institute of International Studies
Practical Skills For Dealing With High Conflict People
This is an informative, interactive, skill building seminar which will help you identify and manage High Conflict People. High Conflict People (HCPs) have a pattern of high-conflict behaviors that increase conflict rather than reduce or resolve it. In other words, the issue that seems in conflict at the time is not what is increasing the conflict. The “issue” is not the issue. With HCPs, the high conflict pattern of behavior is the issue, including: all or nothing thinking, unmanaged emotions, extreme behavior, and blaming others. However, judges, mediators, lawyers and other professionals can learn skills which help HCPs calm down, communicate respectfully, make proposals, respond to proposals, and make and accept their own agreements. Working effectively with HCPs involves a paradigm shift: from professionals directing, evaluating and making decisions for high-conflict clients, to engaging these clients in helping themselves participate to their maximum potential in making decisions and implementing them. Although it is very challenging to work with HCPs, there are skills (often counterintuitive) which can be learned that help professionals both resolve conflict for their clients and protect themselves. Learn the three most important skills for dealing with HCPs. Understanding the personalities (Part 1) helps us understand why the skills (Part 2) are effective.
- Shawn D. Skillin, Esq.
Words Matter: How Language Shapes Mediation, Peacebuilding and Our Ability to Transcend Conflict
Words matter. Words are powerful seedlings for future thought and behavior, inspiring action in one’s self and others. The Chilean entrepreneur and politician Fernando Flores poignantly explains the power of language: “We human beings belong to language. In language, we love and hate, we admire and despise. We interpret our crises as individual and social. We suffer, and exalt and despair. In language, we receive the gift of being human. All the feeling, the thinking, the action, and the things of this world as we know it are given to us in language.”
Flores is correct that we do receive the gift of being human in our use of language, but what we also experience is the devastating ripple effect that can occur when we use language to vilify and dehumanize one another — when we use language as a weapon of destruction rather than a vehicle for collaboration and interest based problem solving.
Language has the power to unite us or divide us. Whether working with individuals seeking to restore peace in their personal and / or professional relationships, incarcerated individuals seeking to restore peace with the parties and communities they have harmed, representatives of nations seeking to restore peace with specific citizen populations, or another party or parties in conflict, the words presented in mediation and conflict resolution practice have a profound impact on the outcome.
This presentation will explore how language can help to bring about peacebuilding agreements as well as how the words we choose in our everyday lives can help each of us to build a more peaceful world … one word at a time.
- Robyn Short, Mediator, Peace-building Trainer, Author & Publisher
- Marcia Hale, Mediator, Executive Communication Coach
- Ronald M. Supancic, Certified Family Law Specialist, The Law Collaborative, LLP
CLOSING PLENARY (4:00pm – 5:15pm)
The Power of Forgiveness and Compassion: Creating Pathways to Peace
Among the greatest challenges of our human experience is the ability to extend compassion and forgiveness in the face of great injustice. Yet, when we find within us to the ability to do so, we become the conduit for transcending conflict and creating a path to peace. Through personal narratives, the speakers will share how they extended compassion and forgiveness, and, ultimately, realized the secret to true power and success.
- Dr. Betty Gilmore, Director of the Center for Dispute Resolution and Conflict Management at Southern Methodist University
- Franky Carrillo
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