Recently, I conducted a successful mediation session regarding a home purchase. The parties had a dispute over access to an adjacent lot also owned by the seller. The deal blew up; they were each alleging the other had breached the purchase agreement. Lawyers were engaged. Fortunately, the standard Residential Purchase Agreement in California requires the parties to mediate before pursuing any legal action. … Read more


People around the world lament the growing inability to discuss disputed matters. Most of us, especially in the litigation world, tend to seek evidence (“facts” and authority) that confirms our positions and beliefs. Most also claim we know more than we really do, and when threatened, hold more firmly to prior beliefs (and also become agitated, defensive, and rigid). … Read more


Last year, someone did the kindest thing for me. I was visiting some friends at their mountain home. We embarked on what was to be a 15-minute walk. Always up for exploring and a challenge, I scrambled up a huge chute of boulders. When I decided it was time to go back, I thought I saw another way out. Before I knew it, I was stuck. Stuck on the side of a mountain on earth that felt like sand slipping hundreds of feet below. For the first time ever, I was scared. I decided that my husband and friends should call Search and Rescue. … Read more


Despite a full day of mediation, your case did not settle. Now that the mediation is over, what can you do to get the case settled? First, the mediation is not over. While the mediation session may be over, the mediation continues. Settlement opportunities are rarely lost.

The best way to decide what to do is to determine why the case did not settle. A deep dive into what impeded settlement that day will help eliminate the impediments and reopen negotiations. … Read more


It was a new year,
And all through the land,
People were scurrying,
For all they had planned.

With joy and great cheer,
They hoped Covid had passed.
Tragedies, losses,
They never could last.
… Read more

The Four-Word Solution to Most of Your Conflicts

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Most of us try to avoid conflict. It portends confrontation, is uncomfortable at best, and is horribly violent at worst. What if SOME of the conflicts you have could be productive and leave you feeling relieved? I have an idea.

Even though we try to avoid conflict, we experience it every day. Around the globe, at work, in the boardroom, among family members. Here are some tools to use to resolve conflict constructively. You may be familiar with them, but I offer a simple approach, even a handy list at the end.

Resolution can provide the relief and personal calm we all crave. You have to recognize two things: (1) try as you might, you cannot control others, and (2) you can control your own perspective, reactions, and anger.

I will tell you the four words, but not yet.

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