Effective Negotiation – Be Prepared


By failing to prepare you are preparing to fail.  –Benjamin Franklin

The lesson of rigorous preparation has been taught throughout history.

In the 5th Century BC, Sun Tzu, in The Art of War, denounced lack of preparation as the most heinous of crimes, and celebrated good preparation as the greatest of virtues. In the 1st Century, Seneca defined luck as something that happens when preparation meets opportunity. Michelangelo grumbled that if people knew how hard he had to prepare to gain his mastery, it would not seem so wonderful at all. In Henry V, Act 4, Scene 3, Shakespeare has the King giving the most famous pep talk in history to his overwhelmed army as they prepared for the unlikely English victory at Agincourt in 1415, explaining that “all things are ready if our minds be so”.

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Posted by Michael Leathes in Negotiation

Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon On Mediation And The Rule Of Law

Gold scale to far right of composition with blurred back

An analysis of why mediation should be considered as part of the rule of law was given by the Honourable Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon, Supreme Court of Singapore, to the The Law Society Mediation Forum in Singapore on 10 March 2017.

The following is a series of excerpts from a speech recently given by the Honourable Chief Justice of Singapore. It is particularly important in that it not only suggests that ADR (including mediation) should be included in the range of procedural options available to the judiciary, but it goes one step further in concluding that the inclusion of mediation in the range of procedural options given to the parties promotes the rule of law. Read more

Posted by Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon in Access To Justice

Negotiation In The Trump Era


The recent inauguration of US President Donald Trump brings a new era of uncertainty to the international community, as many countries re-evaluate their relationships with the United States.

The role of the President as the chief negotiator of foreign policy is essential in maintaining global peace and security, and should not be taken lightly. Though he describes himself as an “expert negotiator”, the fact that Trump has caused considerable tension within his first few days in office has proven that he is in fact quite the opposite. Read more

Posted by Natasha Mellersh in Negotiation, News Analysis, Opinion

Matching Arbitrators To Party Expectations

Dice dropped into the water, on a white background.

Reacting to a discussion at Vienna Arbitration Days 2016, Lucy Greenwood, Michael McIlwrath and I published an article ‘Puppies or Kittens – How To Better Match Arbitrators to Party Expectations’ calling for better-informed choices in appointing arbitrators.

We analysed the arbitrator selection process, and proposed that the lack of available information on arbitrator’s soft skills and procedural preferences often leaves parties disappointed.

In appointing an arbitrator a party seeks to identify an individual with an approach to procedural issues, case management and handling of evidence and settlement which aligns with the party’s views. While this information is crucial for the arbitrator selection, parties have only traces of knowledge about it. In fact, obtaining this information can be the single most difficult challenge when identifying potential arbitrators. Read more

Posted by Ema Vidak Gojkovic in ADR

The Geneva GPC – Does The Future Lie In Mediation?


On 29 September 2016, various stakeholders from the judicial and alternative dispute resolution (ADR) community – arbitrators, mediators and judges, in-house counsel, external lawyers, policy-makers as well as representatives of arbitral institutions – gathered in sunny Geneva for a lively exchange on “the future of dispute resolution” at the city’s GPC event. Read more

Posted by Alisa Burkhard in ADR, LOC Coverage, Negotiation

Are hostile mediators more effective?

whistle of a referee

New research by Francesca Gino and Ting Zhang of Columbia Business School, along with Mike Norton of Harvard Business School, suggests that the most effective mediation style might be being partial against both parties.

The academics suggest that, contrary to the received wisdom that mediators should be neutral, attentive and empathetic, an actively hostile mediator is more likely to get a good result. They discovered that a mediator’s antagonistic and hostile treatment of both parties causes adversaries to unite against the mediator, which in turn increases the parties’ willingness and propensity to reach agreement. Read more

Posted by Matthew Rushton in Introductory Guide

Counting Mediators: Key Trends In International Mediation

Single blue pawn figure between red and yellow groups

The International Mediation Institute (IMI) published the results of their 2016 International Mediation & ADR Survey this week.

The survey focused on collecting census data, as well as views on awareness of mediation and alternative dispute resolution (ADR). Over 800 participants completed the census survey, including users of mediation services, mediators, advisors, educators, students, providers and other stakeholders.

With very little statistical data available in this area, the results, according to IMI have been “particularly insightful and eye opening”. Read more

Posted by Natasha Mellersh in ADR, Mediation

The Mediation Process: When And Why It Is Used

A photo by Steve Halama. unsplash.com/photos/NPKk_3ZK2DY

Mediation can be successfully deployed at any point in the timeline of a dispute – either before proceedings are issued, afterwards, up to, and even during trial. It is, after all, a facilitated negotiation and represents an opportunity to settle early, reducing stress, acrimony and legal costs.

Defining mediation is arguably a futile task: in the same way we accept that ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder’, mediation is whatever users can imagine and can agree it to be. Thus, there are many different approaches, which vary widely according to users’ needs and the demands and timing of the case.

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Posted by Matthew Rushton in Introductory Guide

Ask An Expert: John Sturrock QC


John Sturrock QC discusses life as a mediator, the importance of an effective cross-cultural dialogue and key challenges facing mediation today.

Tell us a bit about yourself

I am a Scot, happily married to Fiona with three outstanding children, all making their way in the world at the ages of 27, 25 and 22. Each has undertaken a bit of mediation training with me and seem to have more skills in problem-solving than I ever had! I have had a varied and exciting career.

I studied law in Edinburgh and Philadelphia and then went to the Scottish Bar in 1986, where I was fortunate to develop a really interesting practice in civil work. I even made it to the House of Lords! In the mid-90s, I had my first career change, taking on the role as inaugural Director of Training and Education at the Scottish Bar where we created a world-leading advocacy skills programme. During that time, I also studied negotiation at Harvard and trained as a mediator. These really opened my eyes to a different way of doing things. Read more

Posted by Natasha Mellersh in Ask An Expert

Secrets of a Global Super Court – a second look

tuer-kl-webRegardless if you see it as being catastrophic or simply weird, for many and varied reasons, 2016 looks set to be a most memorable year. For arbitration lawyers, it could be marked as the year in which investor-state arbitration became a talking point. How do we know this? Well, because 2016 was the year in which BuzzFeed – otherwise known for pop culture, listicles, and lots and lots of cats – published a four part series on investor state dispute settlement (ISDS), entitled Secrets of a Global Super Court.

Amplifying the sense of injustice suggested by the title, the article opens with an invitation to “Imagine a private, global super court that empowers corporations to bend countries to their will. Read more

Posted by Peter Boyle in Comment, News Analysis