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  • Negotiation

  • Mediation Training

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MWI Negotiation Excellence Blog

  • By Chuck Doran and Carl Kjellman

    Tunisian Flag

    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 in the assembly: writing and ratifying a groundbreaking...

  • By Chuck Doran and Carl Kjellman

    prepare to negotiate

    We often assume that we are objective and rational most of the time. We are prone to thinking that our own behavior falls completely within the bounds of reasonable and effective. Learning to check your own assumptions and managing them effectively can provide you with a significant payoff in terms of helping you negotiate more effectively and thereby get more of what you want.

    Consider your own past. Few among us can claim to have acted rationally in every moment of our lives, especially during times of stress or when we are faced with the possibility of not getting something we want. Desire often skews our judgment, and it behooves any negotiator to recognize this truth. Paragons of rationality and objectivity are few and far between, and this article does not suggest you need to become one before...

  • By Carl Kjellman, MWI Mediator

    iStock Reframing 000000222584Medium 325x225 resized 600In many cases, people enter a negotiation under the impression that their purpose is to successfully advocate for a preconceived position and that any deviation from their first proposal is a “step backwards.” As such, the process often becomes adversarial as someone is trying to beat their negotiating partner back so that they will accept their way of doing things. They will either find a winner and a loser or bargain for a compromise, in which case neither really gets what they want.

    This way of negotiating is less than optimal. Too often, negotiators get caught up in competing with the other side – which does not lead to the best possible outcome in many cases – and miss out on a lot of potential value. This article will discuss an idea known as reframing and how it...

MWI Mediation Training Blog

  • Mediator TrainingBy MWI Mentors Vicky Bennet and Robin DiGiammarino

    Mediators looking for a personalized, structured way to fast track their skill development report success and satisfaction with their participation in MWI mentor programs.

    Mentees work with MWI's Director of Mediation & Arbitration Services, Josh Hoch, to design their own program.  Participants work with Josh on selecting a mentor or mentors, establishing goals and setting the pace for their learning. Sessions vary in number and can be scheduled back-to-back or spaced over weeks to allow for practice between sessions.

    Each session, whether it is classroom time, observation of an actual mediation, or a solo or co-mediation, offers an opportunity to try a new strategy, take a chance, ask for help, and learn from mistakes. Working alongside an expert mediator, mentees have a safety net while they gain confidence in their skills. And mentees appreciate when their...

  • By Howard N. Gorney, MWI Mediator & Arbitrator

    Howard Gorney is a commercial mediator and arbitrator with MWI.  Howard completed his initial mediation training with MWI in 2004.

    quarter-dollarRecently, at a mediation between a nation-wide franchisor and a local franchisee involving a dispute over compliance with the franchisor’s marketing rules and a debit of funds previously awarded as incentives to the franchisee, I was in a meeting with the franchisee discussing an offer of settlement from the franchisor. Under this franchise agreement, a franchisee could earn substantial incentive payments for sales of the franchisor’s products in specific marketing campaigns. However, if the requirements of any particular promotion were not strictly complied with, the franchisor could take back any previously paid sums as a penalty.

    After I conveyed what I personally thought was a very reasonable offer to the franchisee, he almost ignored...

  • By Josh Hoch, MWI's Director of Mediation & Arbitration Services

    certified divorce mediator in maI work in a firm that provides basic and advanced mediation and negotiation training.  Each April we offer a course in divorce mediation for trained mediators who want to incorporate divorce mediation into their practice.  I often hear from newly trained mediators that they do not see the need for an advanced divorce mediation training.  A few of the examples include:

    "I have been a family law attorney for 20 years, I know what I am doing."  "Role playing is a waste of time."  "I can teach the class, I've seen it all in court."  "I represented a high conflict client and got him to settle just before trial.  I can settle any case."

    I was trained in basic mediation in 1996 and then began volunteering as a mediator to gain case experience.  In 1998, I...

Divorce Mediation Blog

  • IRS Publication 504During divorce, one of the factors couples must deal with is taxes.  At first glance, this topic may seem overwhelming to some.   To help, we compiled a list of 10 IRS Publications that relate to divorce. 

    IRS Publication 504 - Is for Divorced or Separated Individuals and explains tax rules that apply if you are divorced or separated from your spouse. It covers general filing information and can help you choose your filing status. It also can help you decide which exemptions you are entitled to claim, including exemptions for dependents. IRS Publication 504 also explains:

    The Filing Status options (Married Filing Jointly, Married Filing Separately, and Head of Household) Exemptions for Dependents Children of Divorced or Separated Parents (or Parents Who Live Apart) Phaseout of Exemptions Alimony, Alimony Requirements, and Recapture of Alimony Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) Payments and transfers of property that usually results from divorce....

  • online parent education program in MAIn Massachusetts, all parents in a divorce action are required to attend and participate at an approved Parent Education Program. The purpose of the Program is to ensure that both parents in a divorce are aware of their children’s emotional needs and understand the effects of divorce on child behavior and development. Traditionally, the Program consists of a five hour classroom session completed over the course of two days. Parents of the same child cannot attend the same program at the same time. Many of MWI's divorce mediation clients often find that busy work schedules and other obligations make it difficult to set aside time to attend this mandatory Parent Education Program. We often hear that clients want a more convenient way to participate and now they have one.

    A new Pilot Program allows for a blended...

  • CDFAAre you are considering or currently navigating a divorce? You probably have a lot of questions, most of which boil down to, “Am I going to be OKAY?” The reality is that everyone’s definition of okay is different and everyone’s idea of fair is different. Building a Competent and Trustworthy team of advisers that can help you determine what OKAY and FAIR really mean to your family is crucial in this emotional time of your life.

    Regardless of what type of divorce process you use, a more amicable one like divorce mediation or a more adversarial one like litigation, there are four parts to every divorce:

    the Agreement; the Legal; the Financial; and the Emotional.

    Working with a divorce mediator can help you and your spouse reach a settlement agreement that works for each of you and your children. But what about...

Bankruptcy Finance ADR Blog

  • confidentiality

    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.[1] At the federal level, there are ADR...

  • bankruptcy mediation, bankruptcy adr

    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.

    In 1996, Bayou Fund was set up by Sam Israel, Daniel Marino, and James Marquez as a Ponzi scheme that attracted over $450 million from investors. In 2005, Bayou Group voluntarily liquidated and promised 100 percent returns to its investors. To remain operational, the company paid redemption requests with investments from other investors, rather than from profits. On May 30, 2006, Bayou Group filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and later filed 120 adversary proceedings that continued through 2008.

    In...

  • HOSTESS SHUTDOWN 28341157 resized 600

    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.

    In the absence of a bankruptcy settlement, 18,500 employees lost their jobs due to the subsequent liquidation. In response to the liquidation announcement, Hostess snacks were put on rush order and the remaining products sold out within a few...

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