"Oh Yeah, I Do That, Too"

“Oh Yeah, I Do That Too”

{3:48 minutes to read}

With a title like that, you’re probably saying to yourself, “What in the world is she talking about?” I will explain, but first let me give you a little bit of my background, so you will have a better understanding of where I’m coming from.

I have been a licensed attorney for over 30 years. For many of those years, I practiced traditional law in corporate legal departments and in my own law firm. Over time, I became disillusioned with the rigid win-lose approach toward negotiating and the lack of true communication between the parties.

So in the early 2000s, I started exploring alternatives to the traditional practice of law. Ultimately, I came upon mediation and, as they say, everything is history since then! I love my work as a full-time mediator, and believe I am able to help my clients in a much more significant and positive way than if I were still practicing conventional law.

Now, getting back to the title of my blog…. On occasion, I attend legal seminars or other events to keep abreast of the law in the subject areas in which I’m mediating. For instance, a divorce and family mediator needs to understand the legal issues involved in divorce – to be able to give clients general information about the law, but not to advise either client as to what he or she is entitled to under the law, or what action should be taken (that’s the job of their individual consulting attorneys).

Recently I attended a legal seminar on divorce law. When I was chatting with one of the attendees (whom I did not know) and told him I was a mediator, he responded…”Oh yeah, I do that, too.” But when I asked him more about his practice, it was clear he was solely a litigation attorney and did NOT do mediation.

I routinely hear this same response from lawyers who are not “really” mediators. And I must admit, it irritates me.

  • Does their response come from arrogance or smugness (as if they can do anything if they just put their mind to it)?
  • Or perhaps these attorneys think mediation is a cinch and requires little to no training or expertise.

Well guess what – that off-handed comment just doesn’t pass muster.

We “true” mediators are an extremely dedicated and professional group. We have years of training and experience behind us and are committed to learning and growing throughout our careers. To do our job well, we need:

  • To be excellent facilitators and communicators;
  • To bring a deep understanding of human nature to the table;
  • To be problem solvers who help our clients reach a constructive resolution of their issues; and,
  • We often have to do our work under the most trying of circumstances.

So thank you, dear readers, for bearing with me as I sound-off. Guess I’ve just had to contend with one too many “Oh yeahs” recently.

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2 responses on “"Oh Yeah, I Do That, Too"

  1. Gillian Brady

    Oh yeah, that has happened to me too! And you are not alone in being irritated. In fact, I am happy to hear I am not alone. As my mentor told me 12 years ago, you have to choose the hat you are going to wear. I believe it is impossible to wear a litigator’s hat some of the time and a mediator’s hat some of the time. The profession of mediator requires total focus and dedication. If you expect to be truly successful, mediation should be your sole focus (even if it means a much lower income). In my humble opinion.

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