Archive for the ‘ABA Spring Conference’ Category

Geoff Speaks, Jeff Listens

May 4, 2009

The other much-more-famous-Jeff-but-spelled-Geoff at Mediator Blah Blah gave his review of the ABA Spring Conference on Dispute Resolution [here].

Much like how he gave it some time before he posted his thoughts on the conference, I too took some time before I posted my response to his post.

So did Geoff have a favorable after taste of the event? He states, “I mean, there may have been some gold nuggets buried deep inside the conference program but, for the most part dear reader, I did not find them.”

Never one to mince words, Geoff adds, “The program was tired and some presenters had no business being at the front of the room.”
After thinking long and hard about how I felt about his comments, I asked myself if I agree or disagree with him? Firstly, I must admit, the conference was the first I attended so there was really nothing to compare it to. I did make the best of it, and was able to meet many different wonderful people from all over the globe.

But was I challenged as Geoff wanted to be? Did I get any ‘nuggets’?
As far as breakthrough knowledge or information, the answer is no, not really. But then the question must be asked- what were my expectations? What was each person’s expectations that attended?

For me, just networking with no sinister hidden intentions other than to meet many new people, I found it to be a success on that level. Is that enough for others, maybe not. What I need to keep in perspective is as a resident of NYC, I did not have to book airfare or a hotel so my expenses were much less compared to others.

Would I have the same positive spin of ‘networking was enough for me’ attitude if I had to fly to San Francisco (where it will be held next year)? Hmm, something to consider.

But enough about me, back to Geoff and his comments. Geoff adds at the end, “It’s time for the ABA Dispute Resolution Section to re-evaluate it’s conference format and content – maybe less is more as mediation matures and the need for mediation 101 primer sessions diminish.”

Yes, the ABA are the ones who put the event together, but why put all the burden on them? Why not have some sort of survey of the members? Is there one done already? A polling of ABA members (heck add non-members like myself) to find what you like and dislike, expect and don’t care to see would give the organizers a proper sense of what to include because it is the paying audience that is weighing in. We could call it a massive debriefing…wait a minute, this sounds like consensus building!

To go slightly off track, an idea I have floated around in my head is to eventually do a survey similar to the one Bond University’s John Wade did back in April ’08. He surveyed experienced mediators to get their insight on their practices during mediation. Something similar could be done on a much larger scale (maybe called “Current Trends in Global Mediation”) and/or simply to gauge what would interest the ADR community at conferences.


Live from the ABA Spring Conference

April 17, 2009

… And We Are Live!

Ok, well maybe not ‘live’ but close. I am getting ready to head off to the ABA Spring Conference. I plan to post throughout the day my random thoughts, reviews of the events other other tidbits that are no way interesting, but you will find yourself hitting the refresh button anyway for some odd reason.

0701 stuck on the train wondering which krispy kreme donuts to pick out. I like blueberry cake, so I guess I should probably get two at least.

0715 @ krispy crème.

0735 @ the Sheraton and finally meet Diane from, what a very pleasant person.

0800 about a dozen ‘all-star’ bloggers talking over coffee and donuts, not sure is some takeover of the mediation world will be discussed.

0805 someone just thanked Jim from, everyone agrees, including me.

0810 I have given out a few business cards already. I made them at If there was some sort of competition between best cards, I surely would make the finals, right? Btw, the idea and credit of my ‘wonder-card’ goes to Geoff Sharpe. Last year in Australia he gave me his slightly bigger slim card and I have been oddly fascinated with it.

0825 Just remembered- must email Tammy from as she did a great blog post recently on the world of business cards. added post (see below) of my card.

0845 unrelated to stating earlier that Jim from is the best, he gave me a mug that says on it. is not paying any advertising whatsoever, but now that I think about it, hmmm…

0855 Just realized I missed the Plenary lecture. Oops.

0859 I could have pulled off a great ‘gorilla marketing’ campaign. These crispy kreme donuts are a hit with everyone. Heaps of people keep coming over to ask for one. I am sure my charming looks have something to do with it too. If only I had something to market though…

0905 Arrgggh. No WiFi in the area of the hotel except in the lobby which is on another floor. Going down now to see if it works and to upload the past hours worth fabulous blogging…

0915 It’s live! (well, almost live), be back again soon….

0925 Finally met Irena From If you are a mediator, check out their site. They are an international organization that is trying to set, well, an international standard for mediators. I am almost done with filling out my application to join, I suggest at the very least have a look.

0930 just coerced Lee Jay from AIM, American Institute of Mediation ( into taking my last two krispy kremes as I don’t want them to go to waste.

0935 Besty Thomas, from Complete Equity markets, Inc ( just gave me a whole heap of freebies as a trade off since she ate two of my donuts (a blueberry cake one too!). Oh, and she likes my business card too.

1015 session A- The Pivotal Role of Conflict in Influence & Persuasion.
Why did I choose this a the first session I’ll attend? Well, in the mindset of my police work, I have to handle situations where many times the outcome is already predetermined. The task usually at hand is to figure out the nonviolent path (for everyone) and a method of getting the party(s) involved to want to choose a path that the police thinks is best. Professors Ray Patterson & Peter Reilly of UNLV are the presenters.

1200 Session just ended, a really good handout and some notes that some might find of interest.

1210 they said light lunch would be served, and they were not kidding with “light”. Veggie chips, cheese and crackers, and apple and beef jerker. Yum.

1300 Session 2, Mediating Globally: The Impact of Culture on Mediation. Three handouts for everyone which is good because I like handouts. One of them is full of questions to ask yourself before and during a mediation with different cultures. They are broken down into 6 sections:
1) Are the parties from these cultures strongly focused on individual interests or collective interests?
2) Are the parties from these cultures oriented toward hierarchical or egalitarian power?
3) Are the parties from these cultures comfortable with uncertainty?
4) Do the parties from these cultures operate in a high context environment or low context environment?
5) Are the parties from these cultures monochromic-linear or polychromic-holistic?
6) Are the parties from these cultures traditional or secular?

1445 Session 3 is Neuroscience, negotiation and persuasion. Off-topic but I am hungry, surprised? I am not.

1635 Session 4: Emotional Truthfulness and Lie Detection in Negotiation: Science, Culture and Skills.

1545 Brilliant session, 4 stars to Clark Freshman (cue bad joke…not senior nor junior).

1800 reception time, two tickets for two drinks (hmm, to make u for the non-lunch maybe). Time to see old friends and meet new friends….

1900 Dinner at Thalia (sp?) with Geoff, Vickie, Diane & Steve. I was a mere mortal amongst ADR icons and I cherished every moment… and the Brooklyn Lager.

2215 … On the LIRR home to do it all again tomorrow.