Everything You Know about Dispute Resolution is Wrong – Can You Handle the Truth?

You are cordially invited to this program at the ABA conference in Seattle, which will take place on Friday, April 17, from 3-4:15, in the Orcas Room.

My partners in crime for this caper are Alyson Carrel, Jim Coben, and Noam Ebner.

Here’s the idea for our program –

How many times have you heard that mediators equalize power? Or that everything in mediation is confidential?  These are just two examples of illusions that people in our field perpetuate. Why do we do it so often?  This highly interactive session will discuss some of the top misconceptions about dispute resolution and use them to analyze why people in our field propagate such ideas.  We won’t litigate the truth of the statements but will suggest ideas about how we can be more honest with ourselves and others about the field we love.

When Gina Brown saw the title of our proposal, she immediately reacted that we are a bunch of provocateurs.  And she was exactly right.

We want to provoke people to consider why there is so much conventional wisdom in our field that is passed off as obvious truth when much of it is arguable or not always true.  Heck, what is the truth anyway?  Is there even any such thing as “truth”?

(BTW, I don’t really think that everything you know is wrong. You may have stumbled onto the truth a few times.)

We shouldn’t constantly question all our beliefs and assumptions, but neither should we accept conventional thinking so easily.  How can we develop an appropriate mindset in ourselves, colleagues, students, clients, and others?

We would love to have you join our discussion – if you can handle it.

After our session, you can join us at the wonderful “resource share” session that Bobbi McAdoo and Sharon Press have been organizing for the past several years.  And that’s the truth.

4 thoughts on “Everything You Know about Dispute Resolution is Wrong – Can You Handle the Truth?”

  1. In reflecting on his 40-year career, former New York Times reporter John F. Burns described the ethos of his approach to reporting this way: “The commitment to fairness and balance, and to shunning conventional truths when our reporting leads us in unexpected directions, has been our gold standard — and one that I, like other reporters, undoubtedly failed on occasions when my passions, and the passions of those around me, ran at their highest.”

    This should be the goal of empirical researchers and, in my view, scholars and professionals of every type. We should be willing to discard our pre-conceptions when the circumstances warrant. Indeed, we should actively inquire whether there are better views than the ones we currently hold. As Burns suggests, this is easier said than done. But I think that it is the path to a better understanding of reality.

  2. This session will be live-streamed for members of the Section of Dispute Resolution who won’t be there in person.

    Remember that we will be in the Pacific Time Zone — 3-4:15.

    Click here for more information and the link to the live-stream.

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