The Benefits of Mediation in a COVID-19 World

The Benefits of Mediation in a COVID-19 World


Thank goodness we are resilient profession.

I graduated as a Solicitor from the Institute of Professional Legal Studies in 1980.

Since then, all sorts of fancy degrees, so called Management/Legal Sciences and Legal Guru courses have waxed and waned but the position of Solicitor is still there - consistent, respected and professional as ever.

I completed the SLS/QUB course in Dispute Resolution and Mediation Training in the Autumn of 2021 and I have been kept busy ever since.

Now not all cases are suitable for ADR, for example any case where enforceable binding decision is required or cases where constitutional principles, civil rights or other fundamental issues are in contention and an adjudication is needed.

However, while mediation cannot be regarded as an universal panacea, it may be a solution to the growing log jam of cases as a result of COVID-19 plus a multitude of disputes that will probably arise due to non-performance during lockdown restrictions, etc.

Firstly, we, as solicitors have the necessary credentials to assist with any of this work. Integrity is our best hallmark and asset.

Our Law Society has done its best through regulation and CPD training which is, in essence, an attempt to establish integrity by spelling out duties and responsibilities that were always accepted as being the attributes necessary to have professional standing or to hold high office.

Secondly, as solicitors we never stop learning.

Knowledge is knowing what is going on around you in the wider world. That means reading and keeping abreast not only of social media but being up to date with business/legal reports, attending conferences and seminars to hear the views and experiences of others, and so on.

We are proactive in seeking knowledge and many of us are involved with School Boards, Sporting Clubs, Business Groups, Pro Bono Advice Organisations, Charities, etc.

Furthermore, part of our role as a Solicitor is the ability to analyse ie. Analysis.

As you are in an influential legal position and want the world to understand and appreciate your work, remember that you must be able to reach a decision, a conclusion or an explanation.

A real skill is to provide a complete analysis of a legal problem and provide a correct interpretation and communication of that analysis.

Forget about platitudes.

Furthermore, the experienced Solicitor will have developed their own mediation skills working with difficult clients (and colleagues) and will have the capacity to make positive assessments.

Finally, Judgement flows from integrity, doing something without fear or favour because, to the best of your knowledge and ability it is the right thing to do.

If you already possess these attributes, you should consider taking a course m Mediation.

By now you will probably have realised that Mediation comprises of skills you have been fine tuning all your professional life, whether you realised it or not.

In legal practice, negotiation is a daily occurence for both Solicitors (and Counsel), for example over ninety five per cent of High Court cases are settled. Family cases and criminal work too demand the skills and experience of a worth Mediator.

Mediation is not "tree hugging". It is real and it works!!!

You may need stamina and persistence to make a success of this role but you may already have the necessary communication skills to peel off the protective layers with which parties adorn their disputes, deal with their tactical positions and move towards a successful conclusion.

And remember your smile is your logo, and personality is your business card, and how you leave others feeling after having an experience with you, becomes your trade mark.

Joe Rice

Solicitor and Mediator