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The New Michigan Emergency Seclusion and Restraint Law and the Role of the Mediator

Imagine your boss came into your office, tied you to a chair with bungee cords and duct-taped your hands to the chair, then hit and kicked you.  Now imagine this happening to your child at school.  This scenario is not fiction.  In 2014, a Senate Majority Committee described a case involving a Pennsylvania special education teacher who repeatedly hit, kicked, and used bungee cords and duct...
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How a Skilled Mediator Can Deliver the Best Resolution the Parties Didn’t Know They Wanted

I recently mediated an employment case alleging racial discrimination and wrongful discharge. The plaintiff kept reiterating his belief that he had been treated differently from his Caucasian counterpart because of his race. The defendants kept insisting there were factors which distinguished his counterpart’s situation and pressed the plaintiff to acknowledge his deficiencies on the job...
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How to Select a Mediator

As mediation has become the preferred form of ADR in Michigan, the selection of a mediator has become a critical stage of the dispute resolution process. So how do you select a good mediator? Here are some answers based on an exhaustive 2008 ABA survey. The ABA Dispute Resolution Section appointed a task force on improving mediator quality in 2006. Over the next two years, the task force...
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What “The Blind Men and the Elephant” Can Teach Us About Perspective at the Mediation Table

Frequently, disputes arise out of the different perspectives of the parties. Parties may observe the same facts but their perceptions of what happened and why may turn on where they stood, what role they were playing or what they were thinking at the time of the occurrence or event at the center of the controversy. Anais Nin famously said, “we see things not as they are, but as we are.”...
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Consensus Decision-Making: A New Way of Making Public Policy Choices

Many people are familiar with the concept of interest-based negotiation which is widely used in public school, postal service and manufacturing negotiations. Consensus decision making, which is particularly powerful in the public policy and political context, may not be so familiar. Just what is Consensus Decision-Making? Basically, it is an opportunity for people, governmental entities, or other...
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