Avoiding The Urge To Fix It

Yesterday I met a colleague in the hallway outside the courtroom. I was filling out paperwork and ruminating on a case that I’d just finished “processing.” There was no agreement. After a long mediation the plaintiff offered a settlement that the defendant turned down. My colleague also filed paperwork with no agreement. We talked about our recent spate of “no-settlement” cases. We know, through training, that no agreement is fine, sometimes optimal. As my colleague pointed out, sometimes we mediate agreements that we wish instead had gone before the magistrate, simply because we feel one or both of the parties agreed to something that they might later regret. Under my breath I said, “I WISH I could be the judge and settle these disputes myself!” My colleague looked amused. Perhaps I should go to law school, she wondered? No. I just want to fix things…fairly. This, of course, is my naughty mediator thought…a feeling I fight back and keep safely hidden away in the fantasy part of my brain. Wanting to fix things is a bad mindset for mediators. Read more.

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