ADR Tip of the Month - October 2014

October 2014

"Integrating ADR into your Legal Career" 

Four tips and a simile:  

  • First, everything lawyers do is "ADR" because all of us negotiate, day in and day out on behalf of clients. The more we study it, the better we become. 
  • Second, formal training in ADR makes you a better advisor and counselor. When a client gets in a kerfuffle, sometimes avoiding court is the better part of valor and you, as a trained neutral, can suggest and lead towards wise alternative courses of action. 
  • Third, if you are linked in to the ADR community, you will become a valuable and trusted source of information on ADR processes and individual neutrals, enhancing your own reputation in turn. 
  • Fourth, being a trained neutral is a marketable skill just like lawyering. It may take some time and effort, but you can gain both financial and karmic rewards from service in the ADR community. 
  • Finally, a simile. ADR is like a commercial! Just like commercials try to reframe our perceptions of products and our own needs, the skills of a neutral can transform perceptions and visions of every day life. Whether we use the mediation skills of active listening or empathetic questioning or reframing itself, we gain new perspectives on friends, family, co-workers and community. 


Written by Madge Thorsen, one of the panelists at the October 14, 2014 ADR CLE. 

BONUS TIP:  To develop your mediation practice, try to get 100 mediations "under your belt" as quickly as possible.  The best way to do that is to be a volunteer mediator at a community mediation center.  Check for the one nearest you:  MACMP - MN Assoc. of Community Mediation Programs: 

Written by Linda Mealey-Lohmann, Chair MSBA ADR Section