Archive for the ‘ACRG-NY’ Category

NYC-DR Roundtable Recap, September 2009

September 16, 2009

For those who miss the monthly NYC-DR Roundtable Breakfast meetings sponsored by ACRGNY and John Jay College due to schedules (yes, we are all very busy conflict resolvers) or due to locations (I guess everyone can not be in New York City), I plan to write a recap of each gathering I attend.

You can join the listserv by clicking [here].

Note 1: this is not an official recap nor is it intended to be one but rather it is just a posting of my notes and recollection from the day.

Note #2: For this month I credit Maria Volpe for contributing to this recap as well as editing it…

Thanks!

I hope you enjoy and feedback is always welcome!

Scott Gassman, 9/11 survivor of World Trade Center Tower One, spoke at the September 3rd monthly NYC-DR Round table. From the bio sent with the announcement about the Roundtable, we learned this about Scott:

Scott Gassman coaches, trains, facilitates, and manages projects for individual, team, and enterprise-wide initiatives. Scott’s consulting firm, IdeaJuice focuses on strengthening executive and team effectiveness, improving productivity and service, designing change or transition initiatives, engaging the whole workforce, maximizing meeting value, and building learning strategies.

IdeaJuice client roster includes Amalgamated Life Insurance, America Speaks, Philip Morris, G2, Ninth House Network, US Fund for UNICEF, Homeland Security, Eastern Management Development Center and NHCG. Scott facilitated at: California Speaks, the National Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Preparedness Initiative with the EMS Operational Chiefs from America’s fifty largest cities; at the first Governor sponsored Louisiana Recovery and Rebuilding Conference and at Seaport Speaks, to plan the NYC Seaport’s next 100 years.

Scott Gassman is an Adjunct Faculty member at Milano the New School for Management and Urban Policy. His current research focuses on workplace engagement strategies, disaster facilitation and large group methodologies. Scott reviews business development manuscripts for Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc. and is the Co-Book Review Editor of the International Association of Facilitators (IAF) Journal. Formerly he launched on-line learning, blended training and virtual global collaboration as AVP of Organization Development and Interactive Media at Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield. He also produced the digital documentary From Recovery to Resilience, Empire’s 9/11 Story.


– Scott spoke about 9/11 and its immediate effect on the company he was working for, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, which was located at 89-03 World Trade Center Tower #1.

– He asked us (the audience) to write our thoughts and feelings from 9/11 on small post-its, then asked us to stick them on the walls.

– We had a moment of silence for, as Scott stated, “Not just for those who were lost, but also for those who survived.”

– Scott passed around numerous artifacts from 9/11, including a piece of steel from one of the towers that was given to his wife. She is a teacher and a FDNY fireman spoke to her students. After she told him about Scott being there, the fireman gave her the small piece of steel (about the size of a golf ball) and told her to give it to Scott.

– Also passed around was a glass desk type sculpture given to Scott by Blue Cross stating, “We Salute Your Courage, Honor Your Strength and Appreciate Your Dedication, from the “Board of Directors” dated 9-11-01.

-We watched an 18 minute film titled, “From Recovery to Resilience” on how the company continued to operate in the days after 9/11 because of planning, preparation and determination of the employees.

The film uniquely showed a different aspect of post 9/11- one where a company, as a whole, responded. The film showed, via first person narratives, all the different levels of response ranging from the roll over of computer servers, setting up temporary offices in Albany, rerouting the call center, the memorial service and the creation of “care” (not case) managers to assist the families.

– He introduced Maria to speak about how the NYC-DRC Breakfast group was formed since this month we celebrate the 8th anniversary of the meeting.

Maria shared how the Breakfast and listserv got started:

– The group first met on 9/20/01. Maria noted that she sent out emails to two national listservs to announce the breakfast. One of the most important needs discussed at the first Breakfast was the necessity to find a means of communicating with each other in the NYC area.

– The NYC-DR listserv was created on 9/27/01.

– There are currently over 1,570 people on the listserv.

– NYC-DR initiatives: Make Talk Work (24 book marks), International Make Talk Work Video contests (see here), and promotional giveaways ranging from tote bags to shirts. I did not check eBay for the shirts but I am sure they are the newest collectors items shattering auction records!

– I was not able to stick around for all the comments as I had to leave for a meeting.

Quote of the month:
“Connection before content.”
Scott said this was a principle he discussed with his company Idea Juice.

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You can join the listserv by click [here].

NYC-DR Roundtable Recap, August 2009

August 12, 2009

For those who miss the monthly NYC-DR Roundtable Breakfast meetings sponsored by ACRGNY and John Jay College due to schedules (yes, we are all very busy conflict resolvers) or due to locations (I guess everyone can not be in New York City), I plan to write a recap of each gathering I attend.

Note 1: this is not an official recap nor is it intended to be one but rather it is just a posting of my notes and recollection from the day.

Note #2: For this month I credit Maria Volpe for contributing to this recap as well as editing it… Thanks!

I hope you enjoy and feedback is always welcome!

The August 6, 2009 NYC-DR Roundtable sponsored by ACR GNY and John Jay College continued the trend of “BIG”. Just like the previous month, this meeting had to be switched to a larger room (which is a good thing). Over 60 people attended to hear Gerald P. Lepp, ADR Administrator of the Eastern District New York Courts.

Mr. Lepp spoke about how he started the program 17 years ago. He credited Maria Volpe with playing a significant role in assisting him with developing the program.

He believes mediators are entitled to be paid for their service and the Local Rule 83.11 recently amended by the Board of Judges (on July 7th, 2009) agreed with him. In passing the Rule, the judges also realized there were two key issues:

1) Mediators should be paid.
2) If parties were unable or unwilling to pay the fee, they could apply to the referring judge for a waiver of the fee, with a right of appeal to the district judge

Mr. Lepp stated by having the application go directly to the District Judge, the number of false applications being filed would be reduced.

* The fee will be paid by both parties. The mediators will be paid $600 for the first 4 hours; $250 for each additional hour. The mediators are not paid for any preparation work.

* The mediators are chosen by both parties. When they are not able to agree, Mr. Lepp sends out a notice to the roster of mediators and then forwards the names of those mediators who are interested to the parties. If a mediator is still not agreed on, then the board of Judges chooses one.

* The mediators also perform Pro Bono work which is decided by the discretion of the judge.

* The Eastern District is not currently accepting new applications for mediators. They have a roster of about 200 people and Mr. Lepp feels they deserve an opportunity to participate first. He believes they may be accepting new applications beginning 1/1/10.

* Most cases go for one day and 2/3’s are settled.

* Requirements for the mediators:
1) Must be a lawyer.
2) Must have 5 years of practice.
3) Must be a member of a State or the D.C. Bar.
4) Must have at least 16 hours of mediation training.
5) Must be interviewed by Mr. Lepp.
6) Must be approved by the Board of Judges.

Information from Mr. Lepp during the Q & A:

* The Eastern District also has arbitration which has a 2/3’s success rate.

* The mediation program averages 15 cases per month.

* His staff is small- it is only him and the two interns who are about to finish their internship. Those who are interested in interning should send a letter and resume to Mr. Lepp. He noted he is looking for people with computer skills as well as someone interested in interacting- not research.

* In regards to why just lawyers as the mediator: Mr. Lepp stated most programs require mediators to also be lawyers and he personally agrees with this.

* You can visit their website to see a bio of the mediators http://www.nyed.uscourts.gov/adr/Mediation/displayAll.cfm. This is one way in which the parties can educate themselves when choosing their mediator.

* Only experienced mediators should apply (when they start accepting applications again). Mr. Lepp stressed this is not the place to get experience.

* Training is coordinated with outside companies and universities. Mr. Lepp feels a more formal structure needs to be in place to update members on issues and news.

* Diversity of the roster: Mr. Lepp believes that with respect to gender, the roster is balanced. However, he does not think that it is balanced regarding race and ethnicity. He has tried in the past to correct this by reaching out to various ethnic Bar Association groups but has had little success. The Program does not maintain personal data on its mediators.

* No mediator has ever been called to testify in court from his program.

Quote of the Day:
“We really have come a long way.”

For more information on the United States District Court of the Eastern District of New York Mediation Program, go to http://www.nyed.uscourts.gov/adr/Mediation/mediation.html

ACRG-NY July Recap

July 6, 2009

For those who miss the monthly NYC-DR Roundtable Breakfast meetings sponsored by ACRGNY and John Jay College due to schedules (yes, we are all very busy conflict resolvers) or due to locations (I guess everyone can not be in New York City), I plan to write a recap of each gathering I attend. I hope you enjoy, and feedback is always welcome!

July 2nd’s meeting featured Camilo Azcarate, manager of the World Bank’s Office of Mediation Services. I was fortunate enough to hear Camilo speak at the ABA Spring Conference on Dispute Resolution in April.

At the DRC-NY Roundtable, he spoke on Cultural Expectations in Mediation which included an overview of the role of his office and future plans.

The World Bank’s internal justice system is split in two parts- formal and informal methods. The informal side includes the Ombuds Office, the Office of Mediation Services and Peer Review Services.

The formal side has the ethics section, tribunal with judges and similar to court), and INT or internal investigations. INT handles complaints in regards to such issues as corruption.

To try and keep things simple, I will do the rest of the recap as bullet points (I hope you do not mind!)

* The World Bank can not be sued (in labor disputes, tax complaints, etc.) so it is vital to have a working internal justice system.

Mediation
*
His office receives approx. 70-120 cases per year

* It takes 3-5 weeks from intake to the completion of a mediation session

* Most sessions are 4hrs and/or 2 session in total

* 65% of staff works in HQ, 35% in country offices while 85% of cases come from HQ and 15% from the country offices

* 95% find mediation to be useful (from post mediation evaluations)

* Mediations are done with internal and external mediators

New Initiatives
* Conflict Competencies- working with HR in a “big project’ to create a conflict competent organization.

* Outreach & Training- Training is the most effective way to reach out to employees.

* Expand Access to Country Offices. Currently mediation is offered via video conferencing or teleconference.

* Biggest liability of mediation programs is not getting enough cases. At the same time, remember to not change the mediation process to fix it.

Culture
* Culture was a main part of the presentation

* There are more similarities than differences across cultures.

* Individuals belong to several cultures simultaneously.

* Individual behaviors are not necessarily determined by culture.

* An example given- in Columbia for most, their version of saying no to someone is by not saying yes which could create confusion in Americans who would then think, “Hey, I think there is a chance.”

* Diplomacy styles, like mentioned above are valued more in country offices compared to HQ (as per their research).

* Lots of references to Hofstedes Dimensions- Indivudualism, Power Distance, Masculinity, Uncertainty Avoidance and Time. The first two were gone into detail.

* Individualism– High assertiveness compared to low. Countries like USA & Australia are high, while China and West Africa are low.

* High– opinions, self interest and conflict are good (low is the opposite).
Power Distance- Degree in which less powerful members of the group expect unequal distribution of power. Confused? Read more on it [here]

Comments During Q&A
* We adapt regardless our personal beliefs.

* Confidentiality- don’t offer more than you can promise!

* In mediation, there is confidentiality NOT amnesia!

* His office no longer does conflict coaching as 1) that is more for the ombuds office and 2) it was seen as undermining actual mediations.

* As the administrator of the office, he has to keep certain standards, mainly ensuring mediators stick to the model of empowering the parties in used in all locations regardless of the cultural expectations- for example, parties stating, “we want evaluation!”

* To add to the above point, it was stated the model of empowering the parties must also be done while somehow also adopting to the cultures of the country office.

Quote of the Day
Camilo compared hybrid processes such as Med-Arb to having a nice, lovely salad with delicious dressing on it….then adding ketchup on top! Brilliant Camilo, brilliant!

Someone in the audience remarked this gem in regards to engagement/dialogue, “Connection before content.”

Conclusion
From my not-scientific-at-all count, there were approximately 70 people at today’s gathering which was fantastic. As usual, a consistent, positive result to attending the monthly gathering is to see people I know as well as meeting new people. With such a large group showing up today, it was wonderful to see the ADR community in New York City thriving.