Table of Contents

Keynote: The Wound is Where the Light Enters You

In 2016, at the peak of a career in the fashion industry, I took a leap from a globe-trotting fashion executive to a life dedicated to service and community. It wasn’t a choice. The transformation came from deep within, sparked by what the mystics call a ‘dark night of the soul.’ The keynote will explore how personal transformations take place and the role of identity in discovering purpose.


Leila Yavari

Special Plenary: Master Mediators: What Would You Do?

CLE Credits: 1 General

We often say that mediation is an artform, rather than a science. Users of mediation services often shrug at that notion. This panel will be asked to tackle difficult and challenging mediation situations, and you will get to hear these Master Mediators each answer what their personal approach would be to each situation. Hearing these ideas, will open mediators’ minds to new possibilities, and will educate counsel on how diverse the pool of mediators really is. These mediators are some of the best in the game today, drawing on their vast experience from many years of experience. You are guaranteed to be entertained, and to learn some new ways of looking at the conflicts and the people in front of you in your upcoming mediations.


Closing Plenary: The Inspiration Intervention

Mediators utilize various interventions to coach parties from no to yes. Most of us listen, some of us reality test, others coach, and a few cajole.This plenary session explores the use of an arguably under-articulated mediator tool: inspiration. How do we inspire the parties as an impasse breaking technique? How does sparking insight settle cases?


Misunderstood Minds: Inclusivity in Practice

CLE Credits: 1 Implicit Bias

Confusion, non-responsiveness, yelling, repetition…these behaviors (and more) can be misinterpreted as a client just being “difficult” but what if these behaviors actually signaled something else? Client behavior in mediation could be communicating an unmet need that impacts information access. Attuning to these needs work to provide full access to the process. Join us for a transformative workshop that equips mediators with the knowledge and tools to make strategic decisions that work to support all clients. Participants will get immediate practical skills to accommodate clients across material, physical and virtual environments that work to expand access and support all neurodivergent needs.


Early Dispute Resolution: How to Start It, How to Make it Work, and How our Stories and Language Makes All the Difference in the World

CLE Credits: 0.50 Implicit Bias / 0.50 Civility

Over the years, there has been a lot of talk about early dispute resolution. Since statistically 98% of all litigated cases will resolve without a trial, it seems like a “no-brainer” to discuss settlement EARLY and BEFORE the expenditure of unnecessary time and expense in the pre-trial process. But that has NOT been the experience of most attorneys and parties. Why? This program will bring a little light to this problem – how the stories in our head cloud our perspective, what we can do to change the trajectory of a dispute, and how our language can undivide our divided world.


Restorative Justice to Peer Mediation: Building Bridges between Community Partners and Schools

CLE Credits: 1.0 General

In this workshop, we will provide an introduction to restorative justice practices in schools. Shaune Gatlin, Anne Sawyer, and Rehana Jamal have a wealth of experience creating and implementing conflict resolution programming in schools, primarily focused on peer mediation. The goal of this workshop is to expand our understanding of conflict resolution and give participants a deeper understanding of community circles and how they can serve as a method of creating understanding and community in schools and beyond.


Mediation in Arts-Related Conflicts; Building Bridges Through Creative Dialogue

CLE Credits: 1.0 General

Conflict in the arts industry impacts artists, institutions, and stakeholders in various ways. This workshop explores mediation strategies to address arts-related conflicts, from artifact repatriation to day-to-day challenges. Objectives include deepening understanding, introducing mediation techniques, developing practical skills, and fostering peer learning. The workshop structure includes an interactive session, group discussions, and hands-on exercises covering topics such as understanding arts-related conflicts, mediation fundamentals, strategies for collaboration issues and non-payment conflicts, and role-playing case studies. Participants will gain practical skills, innovative strategies, and a deeper understanding of dispute resolution in the arts industry. By fostering collaboration and addressing various conflict scenarios, the workshop contributes to the application of mediation in arts and culture disputes, creating an interdisciplinary and enriching opportunity for learning, sharing experiences, and fostering collaboration.


Threats to Mediation Confidentiality Post Girardi – How Mediators can Better Protect the Parties’ Process and the Mediator’s Practice

CLE Credits: 0.50 General / 0.50 Ethics

Has the process of mediation gone “off the rails?” Has public confidence in mediation been eroded by recent events? Is there a need for regulation or would better efforts at self-governance serve the profession and the public well? This panel, comprised of recognized ADR industry experts and thought leaders, will propose discrete measures that the profession can implement in the near term for greater self-governance and fewer threats of external regulation. The panel will delve into the threats behind proposed regulatory enactments that threaten the very fabric of mediation confidentiality and propose solutions that mediators can adopt for the future of mediation and the public it serves.


All Roads Lead to Rome: Forging Your Own Path to a Career in Mediation

CLE Credits: 1.0 Recognition and Elimination of Bias

In this workshop, ARC and MCLA neutral and former Court Commissioner Anthony S. Khoury–a Straus LL.M. student, Community Mediator and former Child Welfare Administrator Cheryl Epps–a Straus MDR student, and Professor Sherri Sturgeon–a Straus MDR alumna, who’s also an Adjunct Faculty Coordinator for the Straus Mediation Clinic, will present three different paths to a career in the field of mediation (litigation/bench, volunteer, academia), and three different types of mediation settings (attorneys in a litigated case, community disputes, self-represented litigants), based on their respective experiences building a mediation practice. This workshop will cater to both mediators and prospective mediators who are attorneys, law students, and non-attorneys, and will include a PowerPoint presentation, a question and answer session, audience polling/participation, and a discussion of practical tools for use in different mediation settings.


WORDS Matter – What to Leave at the Courthouse When Mediating

CLE Credits: 1.0 General

Words wield tremendous power in the mediation process, influencing the parties’ ability to find resolution and maintain their focus on the shared goal of resolution rather than litigation. To enhance listening and negotiation abilities in mediation, the impact of language and its impact on the conflict mindset is significant. Legal advocates and mediators have the opportunity to explore the critical importance of choosing their words wisely when engaged in the mediation process. Harold and Dr. Debra delve into the nuanced challenges that arise when courtroom language seeps into the mediation room and how it can hinder progress.

Using more neutral, inclusive, and collaborative terminology can help mitigate the negative effects of strong language. For example, referring to “parties” instead of “opposing counsel” or “disputants” can create a more balanced and cooperative atmosphere.

Through real-world examples and interactive discussions, attendees gain practical strategies to navigate these potential pitfalls, fostering an environment of cooperation and understanding. Join us for an engaging session focused on elevating your mediation practice, strengthening your influence, and creating more positive outcomes for your clients.

What you gain is a framework for achieving the following to facilitate effective and efficient dispute resolution:

  • Setting the Right Emotional Tone
  • Fostering Empowerment vs. Promoting Defensiveness
  • Framing the Issues for ‘Both-Gain’ Outcomes
  • The Use of Empathy in Validating Perspectives, not Positions
  • Alternatives to the Typical Legal Jargon
  • Promoting Ownership and Accountability


How to Turn Gladiators Into Peacemakers

CLE Credits: 1.0 Wellness Competence

In order for a mediation to be successful and effective, each party must understand the difference between litigation and mediation and shift from a gladiator/winning mindset to a peacemaker/problem-solving mindset. While mediators play an important role in creating an environment that encourages collaboration and creative problem solving, many clients lack the tools to communicate effectively, especially during conflict. That’s where a conflict coach can help. This interactive workshop will describe what conflict coaching is and how it can transform clients’ perspectives, strengthen their communication skills, and teach them conflict management strategies. In addition, the workshop will provide an opportunity to explore innovative ways mediators can utilize conflict coaches’ expertise and increase their clients’ ability to participate productively and constructively in the mediation process.


How Do I Get Started? A Step-By-Step Guide for New Practitioners

CLE Credits: TBD

Many new practitioners start by taking training to build mediation skills. But then what? Most have never had to set up or run the business of delivering professional services. Three speakers will provide step-by-step guidance on what to do after the training course: 1) Setting up a practice starts with a legal entity, getting an EIN, insurance, banking arrangements and the basics of marketing. 2) How to get organized to manage individual cases from client intake and conflict checking to case file management, client communications, scheduling, final agreement and long-term file storage, and 3) Technology tools to help, from a website to Zoom and email accounts, calendar, billing and accounting, case management and secure file storage. Presenters will be Kristyn Carmichael, Family Mediator and Certified Divorce Financial Analyst; Jessica Wright, founder of Suttle Manor, LLC providing remote case management services, and Gary Doernhoefer, founder of ADR Notable.