Archive for the ‘alex yaroslavsky’ Category

Guest Blogger 2009: Alex Yaroslavsky

November 4, 2009

Please enjoy the following submission as the second installment of the 2009 Guest Blogger series.

Today’s guest blogger is Alex Yaroslavsky. Alex is the all-rounder ADR professional as he is the founder of the Yaro Group, teachers at CUNY John Jay, mediates with CCRB and is a member of FINRA and NYCLA.
Not enough? Read more about him and the other ’09 All-Star Guest Bloggers [here].

Enjoy!

Yesterday I received a call from a woman who had been enthusiastically pursuing a career in mediation, until words from one of her friends filled her with trepidation. In short, the friend warned:

“There are non-lawyer mediators who have “successful” practices but the ones I know of are social workers or therapists and the mediation is generally an offshoot of their practices. The problem with many is that they don’t have the financial or tax expertise so there are significant gaps in their work product.. … I do remember one story from years ago which had a dry cleaner moonlighting as a marriage counselor/mediator after hrs. No doubt it was spread by disgruntled and unemployed lawyers and therapists but was repeated in all the bars and nightspots to demonstrate the lack of regulations in the field.”

In actuality, one does not have to be an attorney to be a mediator. However, it is important to develop a specific mediation niche or expertise when starting a mediation practice.

To use a medical analogy, becoming a doctor is not enough when developing a practice. A successful practitioner will often develop expertise in a specific area – both for the purpose of developing a deeper knowledge, as well as to be able to attract patients who are looking for someone who deals with their ailment.

As the mediation field matures, specialization will become more common among mediators. And, of course, it makes sense to specialize in an area with which one is already familiar. So, a social worker might become a family-centered mediator, while a contract attorney might focus on contract disputes within their mediation practice, etc.

Two key questions for anyone starting a new practice is “How do I attract new clients?” and “How do I mediate disputes successfully?” The answer to the first question is “marketing.” A contract attorney who decides to branch out into mediation will most likely have an easier time attracting mediation clients because s/he is already known to people who have contract-related disputes. However, a constitutional attorney may have a challenge in attracting commercial mediation clients, despite having a stellar reputation in her/his field.
As a non-attorney entering the mediation field one should consider their most likely client base, as well as how her/his previous experience might be highlighted as relevant to mediation. For example, a nurse with geriatric care experience might want to pursue an elder-care mediation practice as opposed to a divorce mediation practice.

The second question rests on one’s reputation, which is largely based on performance. This is where the comment about knowledge of financial or tax matters might be relevant to a specific type of practice. For example, while it is not necessary to be a Trust & Estate (T&E) attorney to mediate a dispute involving family members who are fighting over an inheritance, it is very helpful for the mediator to be familiar with T&E concepts (e.g. GST: Generation-Skipping Tax), as well as the legal implications of various ideas that might come up in the course of a mediation.
This is somewhat of a double-edged sword because a good mediator has to strike the right balance of knowing enough to understand the relevant concepts, but not to force her/his opinions on the parties (some would even say that a mediator should not offer any opinions at all, regardless of her/his expertise).

Most parties will not appreciate this distinction, which presents an opportunity for the mediator to educate potential clients about what questions to ask a mediator. Some may choose a field expert, others a [mediation] process expert. As long as the mediator properly sets the clients’ expectations, parties may not mind bringing the mediator up to speed on the details of their case.

The mediation field has not yet caught up to other professions in the area of certification, peer review or public awareness. This lack of industry-wide standards allows anyone to call themselves a mediator without having to prove their qualifications. And as this issue is being addressed by the field, the “unqualified mediator” issue can be put to rest.

Mediators should be evaluated on the basis of their training, depth of experience, and effectiveness during a session. A profession or vocation are not good proxies for determining if a mediator is good. A recent article in the New Your Times makes this point.

Two of the best ways to develop your mediation skill set are to find a mentor who will help you develop your skills and find a grass-roots organization that needs volunteer mediators. Mediating community cases will enable new mediators to develop their own style, hone their skills and help establish their reputation.In summary, to become a successful mediator, follow these steps:
Invest in reputable mediation training

Volunteer in a community dispute resolution center

Determine your mediation niche and develop an appropriate marketing plan

Draw on your current expertise and professional network to begin your practice

Leave your clients feeling well-served by your work

As with any business, it will take several years to develop a solid practice, but if you enjoy the work, the field offers a great deal of promise and opportunity.
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’09 All Star Guest Bloggers

August 27, 2009

There are many brilliant ADR professionals out there (much more brilliant than me) that for one reason or another, they do not write as much as they should or blog.

A few months ago I had the idea to reach out to some of these all-stars and ask them if they were interested in being part of my 2009 roster of all-star guest bloggers. I can happily say two things:

1) I am honored that each person I asked agreed!

2) I think all the readers will be just as happy as me to be able to read unedited writings from some of the most brilliant people in the ADR field.

The postings will be on the following dates:

September 23rd D.A. Graham [read]

October 7th Jessica Carter [read]

October 21st Noam Ebner [read]

November 4th Alex Yaroslavsky [read]

November 18th Jose Pascal Da Rocha [read]

December Colm Branningan

Listed Alphabetically

Colm Brannigan

After undergraduate and graduate studies in history, Colm received his LL.B. from Queen’s University in 1981 and an LL.M. in Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) from Osgoode Hall Law School of York University in 2003.

He holds the designation of Chartered Mediator (C. Med.) from the ADR Institute of Canada and is a Certified Mediator through the International Mediation Institute in the Netherlands.

A former litigation lawyer, Colm has been a full-time mediator since 1999 with a wide range of experience in condominium, commercial, technology, employment, estates and family disputes.

In addition to practice, and writing articles and book reviews on ADR and ODR topics, Colm has been a participant and speaker in various dispute resolution and professional development programs and is a part-time instructor in law at Humber College Institute of Technology & Advanced Learning in Toronto.

Colm is a board member of the ADR Institute of Ontario, co-chair of its technology section and co-editor of its newsletter. He also a member of various other professional organizations including the Ontario Bar Association – ADR Section and the Section of Dispute Resolution of the American Bar Association. He is the founder/moderator of “Mediate-Canada” an ADR listserv hosted by Google Groups.



Jessica Carter
(From http://www.leadrnz.co.nz/)

Jessica Carter is Senior Advisor Mediation Practice at the Department of Building and Housing in New Zealand and a practising mediator. She is responsible for developing and monitoring standards of mediation practice, building and implementing mediation training programs, and advising on new mediation initiatives and developments for a large mediation team in New Zealand’s public sector.

Jessica is active in mediation, conflict management, negotiation, coaching, delivering training and dispute system design. She is a member of the Australian and New Zealand LEADR Panel of mediators, the Asia-Pacific Mediation Forum, the Association for Conflict Resolution (ACR), the American Bar Association Section of Dispute Resolution and delivered a Paper on raising mediator quality in New Zealand’s public service at the 2009 Conference in New York. Jessica has completed mediation and negotiation programs at Harvard Law School, a Master of Dispute Resolution in UWS School of Law in Sydney, and attended the International Ombudsman Association program for mediators at the United Nations Office, Geneva.



Jose Pascal Da Rocha

José Pascal da Rocha, JD, is a freelance mediator. He has developed his practice in international mediation.. His practice reaches from resolving humanitarian conflicts in Africa, commercial dispute resolution in the United Arab Emirates to the project management of a center for conflict resolution in Southern Russia. He teaches mediation at several universities, such as the Columbia University, New York, the Southern Federal University of Rostov, Russia and Military Academies of NATO forces. He has published on international mediation as well as diversity management, critical thinking and reflection.


Noam Ebner

Noam Ebner is a negotiation consultant and trainer, an attorney and a mediator. He divides his time between his home and office in Jerusalem and his teaching, training and consulting activities abroad.

He manages Tachlit Mediation and Training, which deals with a wide spectrum of disputes, ranging from business partnership dissolving to employment disputes and divorce mediation.

Noam has been on the faculty of Sabanci University since 2003, teaching the practical aspects of negotiation and mediation in the Graduate Program on Conflict Analysis and Resolution in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.

Noam is a Senior Fellow at the United Nations’ University for Peace in Costa Rica (http://www.upeace.org/) and teaches in the Werner Institute’s Graduate Program on Negotiation and Dispute Resolution at Creighton University’s School of Law (http://law.creighton.edu/wernerinstitute/).

D.A. Graham

D. A. Graham is the University Ombudsman at Princeton University.

Before arriving at Princeton University, D. A. was the Student Ombudsman at San Diego State University for two years. Prior to that, he served as a U.S. Navy Chaplain participating in Operation Iraqi Freedom. In 2001 D. A. received the Military Chaplain’s Association Chaplain of the Year Award for service with the U.S. Marine Corps. He is a graduate of the University of Alabama, where he earned B. A. degree in Speech Communication in 1990 and was the Founding President of the Alabama Student Society of Communication Arts (ASSCA). He also was selected as the first Student Ombudsman for the University of Alabama in 1994. D. A. attended the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, GA, where he received his Master of Divinity degree in 1998. During this time he served as a Resident Director at Morehouse College where he received the Student Advisor of the Year Award. While stationed in Okinawa, Japan he received his Master of Human Relations degree from the University of Oklahoma in 2002 with a specialization in Mediation/Negotiation. D. A. is a member of The International Ombudsman Association (IOA), The Association for Conflict Resolution (ACR-GNY) and The American Society for Training & Development (ASTD)


Alex Yaroslavsky

Alex Yaroslavsky, NCM is the founder of Yaro Group, LLC – a dispute resolution consultancy specializing in workplace conflict resolution. Yaro Group’s services include executive coaching, training, facilitation, communication process analysis and electronic brainstorming.
Since 2000 Alex has been working with major clients in the financial services industry, including Citigroup, HSBC, Merrill Lynch, U.S. Trust and WestLB AG. His experience includes resolving commercial, organizational and cross-cultural disputes.

Alex teaches Dispute Resolution at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice and is a mediator with New York City’s Civilian Complaint Review Board. He is also a member of the FINRA and the New York County Lawyers’ Association mediation and arbitration panels. Alex was one of the first mediators to become certified by the New York State Dispute Resolution Association in 2009.