Featured Blog Posts

  • Negotiation

  • Mediation

  • Divorce

  • Bankruptcy

MWI Negotiation Blog

  • By Chuck Doran and Stephanie Bailey

    "I thought if we walked away still on good terms, it meant I had lost." 

    I overheard someone say this quite recently regarding a disagreement with a close friend, and I thought, "Huh, how peculiar." 

    This seems to be the accepted mentality, at least in much of the United States, in times of conflict and negotiation. Despite the efforts of Roger Fisher and William Ury, negotiation is perceived as "getting your own way". If you walk away from a personal negotiation with the relationship still intact, you didn't express yourself clearly enough. If you walk away from a business negotiation and the other party seems pleased, was too much given away too easily? Not exactly. This mindset illustrates the misconstrued message that negotiation is a game with one winner and one loser.

    ...

  • by Chuck Doran and Stephanie Bailey

    Negotiation has earned, or perhaps always had, a rather negative connotation. It is a process that we use daily, but for some reason, negotiation is often thought of as a competitive battle where all of the parties involved walk away frustrated, annoyed, and/or disappointed.

    Regardless of the fact that negotiations take place on all levels (small, large, intrapersonal, group, etc.), we seem to instictively build them up until they seem almost too big to handle. Negotiating can be intimidating and disliked enough under "normal" circumstances, but then comes the difficult reality: sometimes you are going to negotiate against a bully or on the perceived short end of a power imbalance. While the likelihood of making these negotiations completely painless is unlikely, we're hoping that the following ideas will both validate your feelings of frustration and help you better manage a manipulative...

  • By Chuck Doran and Stephanie Bailey

    Women struggling in the workplace is by no means a new topic.  With Sheryl Sandberg's best-selling book, Lean In, movements such as "Ban Bossy," and social media campaigns advocating "He For She," there have been initiatives from men and women in recent years to address women-in-the-workplace issues. In 2010, women made up roughly 47 percent of the workforce, but today, some women still struggle with negotiation, an important part of everyday work life that spans all industries.

    Much of the research surrounding women and negotiation is specific to negotiating salaries, which may explain, in part, the wage earnings gap between men and women. Linda Babcock and Sara Laschever, co-authors of the book Women Don't Ask: Negotiation and the Gender Divide, found that 20 percent of adult women will never negotiate regardless of the setting, and men will initiate negotiations about four times more frequently than women.  A 2014 Business Insider article compiled a list...

MWI Mediation Blog

  • By Peter Sonnenberg, MWI Mediator

    Increasingly, courts are referring civil litigants to mediation. These courts recognize the benefits of a dispute resolution process that provides parties with the opportunity to explore the resolution of their dispute in an informal, non-adversarial forum. They understand that parties who are encouraged to listen to each other are more likely to structure a settlement that truly meets their needs. They also appreciate that when disputes settle in mediation it relieves courts of the burden of administering and trying the case.

  • Over the weekend, I attended the 9th Annual Harvard Negotiation Law Review Symposium. This year's topic was on restorative justice. Restorative justice is a "victim-motivated" model that suggests bringing together victims, offenders, and community members in order to repair harm caused by crime.

  • One of the best parts about leading mediation trainings is hearing from past trainees about how the training program has helped them.  Recently we received the following unsolicited email:

Divorce Mediation Blog

  • Admitting failure to ourselves and others is one of the hardest things we have to do, and for many people divorce is just that, an admission of failure. It is the failure of two different people to build a life where both can feel fulfilled. But rather than a personal failure, such as trying to learn the guitar or to speak Italian, divorce is generally a failure in perception. The person with whom you joined your life is not the person you believed them to be, or over time your own values and goals have shifted. In some cases one person may play a larger role in the events that build to divorce, but as with any relationship, the nature of sharing such an experience makes it impossible to assign sole blame. We lose and gain friends throughout our lives...

  • Effective July 15, 2015 the Massachusetts Probate and Family Court moved from the term “visitation” replacing it with “parenting time”. 

    In a letter to Bar Liaisons, Chief Justice Angela Ordoñez explained,

    “The changes have been made to reflect the already widespread use of the term “parenting time” in Massachusetts and to more closely follow the national trend of ensuring that parents are not marginalized in their children’s lives and intended to amend grandparent visitation or supervised visitation.”

  • In order to file for divorce in Massachusetts, under a 1A no fault divorce, petitioners need to complete a series of forms.  A complete list of forms can be found on MWI's Divorce Mediation Website

    The list includes:

    Joint Petition for Divorce - 1A R-408 Certificate of Absolute Divorce Affidavit of Irretrievable Breakdown Affidavit of Care and Custody Financial Statements Child Support Guidelines Worksheet

    The R-408 form has been updated as of late June 2015.

Bankruptcy & Finance ADR Blog

  • By Jack Esher, MWI Bankruptcy & Finance ADR Panel Member

    They say there is truth in numbers, and while insolvency practitioners experienced in reviewing balance sheets of distressed companies might agree that this is debatable, the results of deploying mediation in the Lehman Brothers liquidating Chapter 11 case in the Southern District of New York1 prove the value of mediation in insolvency cases.  The most recent status report filed in the proceedings on or about June 9, 2015 states that over $2.9 Billion had been collected in the 410 ADR matters resolved with 527 counterparties.  Of the 235 disputes that went through mediation and were concluded, 219 were settled and only 16 failed to reach settlement.2

  • By Eric Haber, MWI Bankruptcy & Finance ADR Panel Member and Romina Redondo, MWI Staff

    At the start of every mediation, I tell the parties that I have two simple rules.  The first is that the mediation is a confidential settlement conference. The second is that I will file a public, one-line report stating whether or not the case settles and I will not speak with the judge about the mediation. The goal of these statements is twofold: to help parties feel comfortable speaking freely and confidentially during the mediation process and to remind them that in bankruptcy mediation, confidentiality matters.

    Rules on confidentiality vary at the state and federal levels; only 12 states have adopted the Uniform Mediation Act (UMA) drafted by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws.

  • By Frank Conrad, MWI Bankruptcy & Finance ADR Panel Member and Rachael Diament, MWI Staff

    Bankruptcy Judge Robert D. Drain of the Southern District of New York ordered the unsecured creditors of the inoperative hedge fund manager Bayou Group LLC and Goldman Sachs Execution & Clearing LP into mediation regarding a sum of $20.7 million that has been in dispute for five years.

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