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"ADR Prof Blog" - 5 new articles

  1. Detroit Bankruptcy Case – Judge Chastises Attorneys for Claiming Mediator Bias
  2. Negotiating the Recline Function on your Airline Seat
  3. Aspiring Law Professors Conference – Sept. 27th
  4. On Jimmy Fallon and Finding Common Ground
  5. Reminder – ABA DR Section Annual Conference Proposals
  6. More Recent Articles
  7. Search ADR Prof Blog
  8. Prior Mailing Archive

Detroit Bankruptcy Case – Judge Chastises Attorneys for Claiming Mediator Bias

In the Detroit bankruptcy case, one of the creditors claimed that the mediators – one of whom is the Chief US District Judge for the Eastern District of Michigan – were biased in favor of some philanthropic creditors.  According to this article the creditors claimed:

The plain truth is that the mediators in this case acted improperly by orchestrating a settlement that alienates the city’s most valuable assets for the sole benefit of one creditor group.


Yowza !!  Now that’s a charge.  According to the article, here’s what Judge Steven Rhodes’ order says in response.

[Judge Rosen's ruling] added that the bond insurance company’s “highly personal attack” on Rosen was legally and factually unwarranted, unprofessional and unjust….. The court finds that the allegations concerning the mediators … are scandalous and defamatory.

Now that’s a slap from the bench.  Can’t wait to see the order itself and if there any issues from the mediation go up on appeal.

Hat tip – Stacie Strong via the list serv


Negotiating the Recline Function on your Airline Seat

After yesterday’s diverted flight in which a United plane had to land over a dispute regarding someone’s right to recline their seat, I think I see a business opportunity for dispute resolution.  Josh Barro for The Uphot in the New York Times argues that if he is expected to give up his right to recline, he should be paid for it.  As he notes, no one has yet tried to negotiate with him over his recline so it must be that people are not willing to buy this right.  I think, instead, that no one really knows how to start the negotiation.  If we dispute resolution professionals just announced at the beginning of the plane ride that we were available to mediate any disputes (and take a percentage of the money changing hands), who knows how many more happy passengers there could be?  And, once we demonstrate how helpful mediation can be in this context, we will have convinced whole new audiences about the wisdom of using this process.  In the alternative, perhaps we could offer negotiation training to passengers who need help starting the negotiation.  After all, isn’t this a quintessential difficult conversation?  Clearly the conversation about reclining seats has touched all sorts of nerves about identity, ownership, rights and respect.  In the meantime, I’ll just pray for an upgrade to economy comfort! (Hat tip to Natalie Fleury)


Aspiring Law Professors Conference – Sept. 27th

On Saturday Sept. 27th the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University will be hosting the 6th Annual Aspiring Law Professors Conference.  The conference is valuable for anyone considering a career as a law professor, but it is specifically designed for those who plan to go on the academic teaching market.  Attendees get the opportunity to receive feedback on both a mock job-talk and a mock interview.  With both Arkansas and Missouri* looking to hire in ADR this year, I hope those of you hoping to join the ADR professoriate make it out.

For more information, the conference web site is here.  And, good luck !

* There may be others looking, these are the only two schools I know of.



On Jimmy Fallon and Finding Common Ground

Forbes recently published an interesting little piece here on why Jimmy Fallon is so liked and successful. Much of the “Jimmy Fallon technique” is basic rapport building while emphasizing the importance of listening.

The conclusion of the article is that there are “three lessons to take from Jimmy Fallon:

  1. Find common ground with the person you’re speaking to.
  2. Ask questions and spend 75% of the conversation listening to their answers.
  3. Make them feel as though they’re the funniest, most important, and most fascinating person in the room.”

Reminder – ABA DR Section Annual Conference Proposals

Consider this a friendly reminder that the deadline for proposals for the ABA DR Section Spring Conference is September 5th.  The conference itself will take place on April 15-18, 2015 at the Westin hotel in Seattle, Washington.  According to a recent ABA DR Section email:

The Section of Dispute Resolution seeks proposals for cutting-edge, timely programs with excellent speakers and presentation materials, on issues that will enhance attendees’ professional skills and knowledge.


For Spring Conference Proposal Instructions, visit the Section’s home page at

Best of luck with your proposals.



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