Featured Blog Posts

  • Negotiation

  • Mediation Training

  • Divorce

  • Bankruptcy

MWI Negotiation Excellence Blog

  • By Chuck Doran and Katie Hyten, MWI Mediators

    If asked which part of a company handles negotiations, most people would automatically turn to the HR division. For many, negotiation in the workplace occurs in two major areas: contract or salary negotiations and workplace disputes. And neither of those are particularly positive experiences.  But in 2011, the Purchasing Management Association of Canada (PMAC) recognized “tectonic shifts in business management and procurement” with enormous ramifications for the use of negotiation tools in broader areas of the workplace.

  • By Katie Hyten, MWI Mediator

    Ezra Klein recently jumpstarted his online news project, Vox , with a self-authored article entitled, " How politics makes us stupid. " In this article, Klein cites somew hat c ounterintuitive research that indicates the more information partisan voters receive, the more entrenched they become in their beliefs – even if the information provided debunks those beliefs. According to research by Yale Law Professor Dan Kahan and co-authors, when asked questions that may threaten our group’s identity, we instinctively answer in a way that rationalizes our group’s reasoning. He calls this theory Identity-Protective Cognition: people tend to care more about defending their group’s inherent right-ness than about finding the truth.

  • By Chuck Doran and Carl Kjellman

    In December 2010, Mohammed Buoazizi, a vegetable salesman, set himself ablaze in the streets of Tunis to protest the autocratic regime of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. This act ignited a revolution that ousted Ben Ali – who had ruled the country since 1987 – in early 2011. The revolution culminat ed in the ratification of a new Tunisian constitution on January 26, 2014.

    This story is noteworthy to people with an interest in negotiation because it demonstrates an important principle of collaborative negotiation: trading across value. By supporting each other's non-competing legislative agendas, different factions in the national assembly were able to build a coalition large enough to overcome the positional divides in the interim government and accomplish a greater goal of larger value than any individual interest at stake...

MWI Mediation Training Blog

  • One of the best parts about leading mediation trainings is hearing from past trainees about how the training program has helped them.  Recently we received the following unsolicited email:

  • By Katie Hyten, MWI Mediator

    I participated in the MWI Mediation Training with about twenty other students at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy in January 2013. Two days into the training, the ever-patient trainers gave us an opportunity to ask any questions still lingering after the first weekend. I imagine they regretted this very quickly. To their dismay, our trainers had to spend no less than half an hour responding to the same question. It turns out, all twenty of us entered the training firmly believing we were there to solve the conflict for the parties. We asked question after question that reiterated: “But what if I know the best agreement? Can’t I simply tell the parties what to do?”

    Over the next half hour, our trainers asked us to consider the idea...

  • By Chuck Doran and Katie Hyten, MWI Mediators

    After trying to broker a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, Kerry has been somewhat unceremoniously extricated from the conflict resolution processes. And as Israel pulled back from US mediation efforts in favor of an Egypt-brokered process, Kerry saw his efforts to mediate a settlement fall apart for the second time in as many years. Egyptian-brokered ceasefires have remained largely intact, while Kerry’s involvement has been universally berated.

Divorce Mediation Blog

  • "People won't get great at their jobs unless you do a great job at giving them feedback."

    Every Monday through Thursday, MWI mediators provide mediation services to litigants in the Norfolk Probate and Family Court Department. Mediation is offered on site and free of charge. The mediators who volunteer their time often do so to become more effective divorce mediators.

    Learning to be a mediator is like learning to drive a car.  Before you drive, you read a book, take a class, and sit in the back seat for a while.  Then you start driving with someone sitting next to you letting you know what you are doing well and when you are doing something unsafe.

  • By Sabrina R. Bohun, Mediator

    During a recent observation of a divorce mediation, I witnessed a perceptive attorney raise an interesting point relative to how the parties were communicating.  The attorney (representing the wife) was doing an excellent job trying to explain court rules and procedures to both parties in an effort to work towards an agreement on the issues at hand. 

  • My first takeaway from observing a divorce mediation was perhaps the most obvious takeaway: divorce is HARD. With so many legal frameworks for the process and so many components of life that had become intertwined over the years, I was shocked that the parties spent almost no time arguing over frequent flyer miles.

Bankruptcy & Finance ADR Blog

  • By Eric Haber, MWI Bankruptcy & Finance ADR Panel Member and Romina Redondo, MWI Staff

    At the start of every mediation, I tell the parties that I have two simple rules.  The first is that the mediation is a confidential settlement conference. The second is that I will file a public, one-line report stating whether or not the case settles and I will not speak with the judge about the mediation. The goal of these statements is twofold: to help parties feel comfortable speaking freely and confidentially during the mediation process and to remind them that in bankruptcy mediation, confidentiality matters.

    Rules on confidentiality vary at the state and federal levels; only 12 states have adopted the Uniform Mediation Act (UMA) drafted by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws.

  • By Frank Conrad, MWI Bankruptcy & Finance ADR Panel Member and Rachael Diament, MWI Staff

    Bankruptcy Judge Robert D. Drain of the Southern District of New York ordered the unsecured creditors of the inoperative hedge fund manager Bayou Group LLC and Goldman Sachs Execution & Clearing LP into mediation regarding a sum of $20.7 million that has been in dispute for five years.

  • by Rachael Diament, MWI Staff

    Twinkies will be returning to store shelves July 15, 2013. Earlier this year, Hostess Brands filed for bankruptcy in the aftermath of a Bakery Workers Union strike that could not be resolved. The company claims to have been struggling under higher pensions and medical bills than its competitors due to its unionized workers. At the same time, Hostess employees claim mismanagement and executive hesitation to invest in new brands following changes in consumer tastes crippled the company. Hostess and the unionized workers failed to reach a settlement through negotiation and the bankruptcy mediation process.

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