Lisa Blomgren Amsler (Indiana) and I are quoted in a recent Indiana Lawyer article entitled Dealing with Differing Perceptions of Reality. The piece asks the question of whether mediators should be responsible for the disputing parties’ honesty during the mediation process. You can probably imagine where the two of us stand on the issue. What strikes me as most interesting about the idea is this: the lack of understanding that mediation is simply a facilitated negotiation, not a court proceeding.
On July 1st of this year, a California Highway Patrol officer was captured on tape beating a woman on the side of a freeway in Los Angeles. Not even three months later there is a mediated resolution of the lawsuit filed in the case. The woman, who was homeless, will receive $1.5 million, to be held in a special needs trust. The CHP officer agreed to resign. It is unclear if there will be any criminal charges filed. Prosecutors are reportedly still “deciding whether to charge” the officer.
I find it interesting how quickly the parties resolved this case and that the officer’s resignation was part of the package. Part of the reason might be that the officer had only been a member of the CHP since 2012. The fact that this incident was captured on tape undoubtedly also helped.
For the Los Angeles Times report on the settlement, see http://www.latimes.com/local/la-me-0925-chp-beating-20140925-story.html .
I am thrilled to join my good friends on the Indisputably blog.
I will semi-retire from teaching at the end of this academic year and this seems like a good time for me to start blogging.
I have been very touched by friends who said that my retirement will be a loss for Missouri and for the dispute resolution field.
I don’t think that those losses will actually occur, as I describe below.
But people’s reactions prompted my fears of losing connections with my friends in the field as if they never expected to see me again. Being part of our community has been one of the most satisfying parts of my professional life and I don’t want to lose that. I am not ready to go out to pasture. I think that pastures are nice places to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there.
This year, Missouri is celebrating the 30th Anniversary of our Center for the Study of Dispute Resolution and we have a great new director, Rafael Gely. I expect to remain involved in the Center. The Law School and University are strongly committed to maintaining the vitality of our Center, as demonstrated by the fact that they are filling my position, possibly with a lateral. This is particularly impressive considering that our institution is cutting tenure-track positions and isn’t always filling vacancies. This is somewhat like the situation when a child marries as parents don’t lose a child – they gain one. So Missouri will come out ahead in this transaction (though I don’t plan to marry our new hire).
Regarding the field generally, I will continue to manage the DRLE listserv and, along with my colleague Jim Levin, maintain the DRLE website. I will continue to go to the annual ABA conference and my very supportive dean, Gary Myers, said that the Law School will pay for it. I will have more time to travel to give talks and teach short courses. I also want to mentor colleagues and be a resource as appropriate.
Hopefully, all this will convince you that I will still be around after I stop teaching four courses a year and attending faculty meetings.
Joining Indisputably is a concrete demonstration that I will still be here. And if you follow my posts, you will probably connect with me more after I go emeritus than you do now.
Indeed, I want to make sure my time will not be too full of work as I want to spend more time with my wonderful wife, Ann Harrell, and our family (including our pets, Zoe and Sasha) among other non-professional pursuits.
I have a general idea about what I want to do with this blog, though I expect that my posts will evolve over time. I imagine that they will be like a cross between newspaper op-ed columns and letters to friends and colleagues. I hope that they will inspire you to post comments on the blog and/or respond individually. (You never write. You never call.) I look forward to this next phase of my intellectual journey and I hope you come along for the ride.
Finally, let me note that you may want to subscribe to this blog by clicking the link at the top of the page. Until recently, I was usually so distracted by the daily press of work that I could go months without checking this blog. Now that I have subscribed, the blog posts show up once a day in my email and I don’t have to think about it. What’s not to like?
John Lande (Missouri) is someone who should need no introduction to readers of this blog as he’s been involved in just about every academic and professional ADR group and initiative over the years. John’s work has touched on so many facets of the field – negotiation, mediation, collaborative law, and Dispute Systems Design – not to mention all of the work he’s done through the ABA Dispute Resolution Section. But I can’t be an uncritical admirer; John does have at least one area where he could improve – photography. If you don’t already know, John always has a camera at the ready. Be careful when he’s around.
More seriously, here’s some advice that John received years ago, which is worthy of sharing:
Be open to the reality and complexity of ADR. Have a balanced perspective. Don’t be an uncritical cheerleader or a relentless critic.
He’s followed this advice in his writings, and I expect that will continue here.
Welcome John, it’s great to have you join the team.