Bar Journal - Summer 2005
By: Attorney Peter J. Gardner
It has been a pleasure for me to serve as guest editor for this Alternative Dispute Resolution/Mediation issue of the New Hampshire Bar Journal. I am grateful to Executive Editor Michael DeLucia and Bar Association Communications Director Dan Wise for their invaluable assistance and excellent advice as this edition of the Journal took shape over the past many months. I am especially grateful to our authors, each of whom has put considerable thought and effort into producing insight and guidance for you, the reader and practitioner.
Mediation authority Leonard Riskin advises that one can judge a mediation as successful only after deciding what “success” means. Mediation, Riskin says, can humanize and contribute to better resolutions by developing true understanding between parties.
According to attorney John Garvey, the extent to which a mediator can solve problems successfully will depend on the extent to which he or she actively, patiently and tenaciously listens, questions, facilitates, and encourages.
Attorney Scott Flegal argues that the “Understanding-based model” of mediation resolves disputes more effectively than mediation models that utilize private caucusing, with the former enabling parties to craft their own solutions to a conflict and empowering the mediator.
Attorney Melinda Gheris describes the important role of emotion in mediation and how, in incorporating issues of emotion, mediators help to foster long-term relationships and sustainable solutions.
Peter Wolfe, coordinator of alternative dispute resolution programs for the courts and Sullivan County Superior Court Clerk, identifies important strategic, cognitive and structural barriers negotiators face on the road to settlement. Wolfe argues that a skilled mediator can help to overcome these barriers by controlling exchanges between parties, helping resolve information distortions, and providing parties an opportunity to present unfiltered perspectives.
Attorney Honey Hastings reviews alternative dispute resolution options in the divorce context. She covers much ground and evaluates the spectrum of options ranging from direct negotiation to mediation, collaborative practice, negotiation through lawyers, neutral evaluation, parent coordination, and ultimately to litigation.
In an article of historical interest, J. E. Fender, a civilian attorney working for the U.S. Navy at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard – and the author of four historical novels— describes the role President Theodore Roosevelt played as a behind-the-scenes mediator for the talks that resulted in the 1905 Treaty of Portsmouth that ended a war between the Russia and Japan. It’s a tale of historical significance (Roosevelt was the first U.S. President to receive the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts involving this treaty) and a story with its share of intrigue and mystery.
Peter J. Gardner of the Hanover law firm of Stebbins Bradley Harvey Miller & Brooks was admitted to the New Hampshire Bar in 1999. He practices primarily in the areas of business, corporate and intellectual property law. He has been a member for several years of the Bar Journal Editorial Advisory Board.