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About the Section

Task Force on Mediation Quality

Who We Are

The ABA Section on Dispute Resolution's Task Force on Improving Mediation Quality was formed to investigate certain aspects of mediation quality.

Committee Updates

The Task Force on Improving Mediation Quality has Issued a Final Report

For the full report click the below icon

In congratulating the Task Force on the culmination of its two-year project, Section Chair Larry Mills observed: "The Report collects interesting empirical information from users of mediation services, presents a nuanced discussion of mediation practices, and identifies the most important elements of high quality, successful mediations. I want to commend particularly the Task Force Co-Chairs, Wayne Thorpe and Rachel Wohl, for their effective leadership and extraordinary commitment to making the Task Force Report comprehensive and useful. The Task Force can be proud of its accomplishments and for pointing the way to further improvements in mediation through the recommendation of follow-up projects, including user guides, training, further study and shared experiences."

Task Force Co-chair Wayne Thorpe, a mediator with JAMS in Atlanta, described the Task Force work this way: "Many mediators and users are fully familiar with the basic concepts that form the main focus of our Report: Mediation preparation, case-by-case customization, analytical techniques, and mediator persistence?but the Task Force's focus group discussions revealed that many users are dissatisfied with existing mediation practice as it relates to those topics. Recognizing that these topics cannot be covered by bright line, right/wrong descriptions, the Report recommends multiple considerations for mediators, parties and lawyers to incorporate into their mediation practice."

The Task Force determined to focus its work principally on mediation conducted in the context of civil cases in which parties were represented by counsel based upon the belief that this focus would inform it about quality issues in a narrow, reasonably well developed mediation practice area. The Task Force organized a series of ten focus group discussions in nine cities across the United States and Canada. In addition, the Task Force collected more than a 100 responses to questionnaires from mediation users and mediators, and conducted telephone interviews with thirteen individuals who have been parties in mediation.

Co-chair Rachel Wohl, Executive Director of Maryland's Mediation and Conflict Resolution Office, said, "It was interesting to note that many of the commercial lawyers we spoke with, who frequently use mediation, have developed such sophisticated levels of understanding, that they give advice to their mediators about how to structure the mediation process to suit the needs of particular cases. Most of these same lawyers voiced very high expectations of mediators, seeking not only those who are highly skilled and knowledgeable, but also those who are intuitive and able to help meet their clients' emotional needs. Although the Task Force faced logistical and substantive challenges, working collaboratively with Task Force members to meet them has been a very rewarding experience."

The Task Force is hopeful that this Report as well as the identified follow-up projects can show the way to great improvement in mediation quality, especially in the four focus areas of preparation, customization, analytical techniques, and persistence.

Members of the Task Force are as follows:

Wayne Thorpe, Co-Chair
Rachel Wohl, Co-Chair
Phillip Armstrong
John Bickerman (ex-officio)
Lisa Blomgren Bingham
Kathy Bryan
John Buchanan
James Coben
Everette Doffermyre
Amy J. Glass
Howard Herman
David Hoffman (ex-officio)
Homer LaRue
John Lande
Deborah Masucci
Linda Toyo Obayashi
Charles Pou
Charna Sherman
Charles Stauber
Susan Yates
Leila Taaffe

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Co-Chairs:  Wayne Thorpe, Rachel Wohl

Committee Roster (20 total members)

Tool Kit Documents

Tool Kit for Improving the Quality of Mediation
Sample Invitation Letter
Sample Agenda
Discussion Protocol to use with a Group of Mediation Users
Sample RSVP Tracking Spreadsheet
more links...

Other Links of Interest

Article on the Task Force by John Lande and Rachel Wohl
Appendix E - Full Report: Interviews of Mediation Parties

Programs, Meetings and Events

Section Events
April 3, 2008 - April 5, 2008
Sheraton Seattle Hotel
Format: Live/In-Person

Modified by Letty Brown on February 11, 2008

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