Simon Mediation - Dan Simon, M.A., J.D.


Dan Simon, M.A., J.D.

What’s Wrong with Traditional Mediation?

Most mediators simply haven’t thought about or studied the question of what is most helpful to people in conflict. Instead, they apply their lawyering skills against both parties. As lawyers, they learned to threaten the other side with what a judge will do and offer the other side the opportunity to do something slightly less painful. As mediators, they do that to both parties – they tell them that they should compromise or a judge might do something worse to them.

These mediators also try to keep the conversation focused on what they believe is relevant. These mediators don’t understand that, if a client thinks something is relevant, then it IS relevant. These mediators become popular with lawyers, because they say things that are similar to what the lawyers are thinking.

Effective help with conflict operates much differently from how these legalistic mediators handle it. The far more effective approach is to support the clients in talking about the situation on their own terms, in their own way, focusing on the aspects of it that matter to them. Legalistic mediators simply don’t have the skills to do this. When your lawyer recommends a mediator, that mediator is very likely to be a former judge or a fellow lawyer. It’s helpful for the client to insist that the far more effective approach, transformative mediation, be used. Please contact me and I can recommend a transformative mediator to work with you.