Conference Sessions

Tips, Traits and Techniques of Successful Mediators
Friday, March 15 9:15-10:45am
Session Description:
In this interactive session, our keynote will lead participants through a fast-paced set of practical tips, traits, and techniques of successful mediators. Gleaned from “time in the mediation trenches” during the past 34 years, these insights are intended to offer ideas to enhance a mediator’s practice. Whether a novice mediator or one with lengthy experience in the role, there will be something to learn (or re-learn) for everyone and an opportunity for participants to share their own ideas and insights for the benefit all of all in attendance.

Ethics credit: .5

Mediating Brain Health & Business Health: Enhancing the Workplace with Dispute System Design
Session 1
Friday, March 15 11:00am-12:15pm
Trinity River 3
Session Description:
Many workplaces continue operating under archaic models in an increasingly new world. As if pandemic challenges weren’t enough, AI has accelerated changes, and change often provokes conflict. DSD enables systemic solutions to systemic (chronic) conflicts but can potentially do more by setting the foundation for addressing a “core conflict” of the workplace: the strained, interdependent relationship between brain health and business health, which must align more than ever in the era of AI.
Ethics and Self-Preservation: An Unexpected Correlation
Session 2
Friday, March 15 11:00am-12:15pm
Trinity River 4
Session Description:
This may ruffle some feathers, but “being the consummate mediator the parties truly need with highest ethical standards” makes it all about YOU. Yeah, we’re supposed to put ourselves in other people’s shoes but if you don’t understand WHY, your chances of guiding the parties to real resolution are slim to none. Discover the secret to serving them WITHOUT inherent judgment, prejudice, or premise, and serving them and your profession in the highest ethical capacity, while putting you first.

Ethics credit: 1.25

It Takes Two to Tango and Three for a Conga Line: Dancing Your Way Through Mediation
Session 3
Friday, March 15 11:00am-12:15pm
San Jacinto
Session Description:
As mediators, we all need a little razzle-dazzle in mediation. Whether it’s waltzing through offers being made by each side, doing the pasodoble with difficult personalities, or cha-chaing through ethical dilemmas, it’s important to have your dance shoes at the ready to tap dance your way to a successful settlement. The presenter will discuss the rehearsal, the performance, and times when mediators improvise so that the show can (and must) go on.

Ethics credit: .25

Is Cross-Cultural Negotiation an Art Mediators Should Master?
Session 4
Friday, March 15 2:00-3:15pm
Trinity River 3
Session Description:
This session introduces and gives participants the practice with principle-based tools and techniques to reach agreements across varied cultures. Best practices from the most famous negotiators of ancient history (“the Phoenicians”) are studied and used as a methodology. The cross-cultural elements are based on the multicultural experiences, research studies and real-life experiences of the instructor.

Ethics credit: 1.25

Trauma Informed Mediations
Session 5
Friday, March 15 2:00-3:15pm
Trinity River 4
Session Description:
Understand how complex developmental trauma diminishes the capacity for adults to regulate their emotions properly and effectively. Learn techniques and interventions to help all clients successfully manage emotions and navigate difficult conversations toward reaching an agreement.
Politics and Conflict: Building Trust Through Interest-Based Government
Session 6
Friday, March 15 2:00-3:15pm
San Jacinto
Session Description:
Politics can poison relationships. We need mediators engaged in government who are willing to use interest-based strategies to hold our country together. In this session, we will discuss stories and scenarios about building trust on issues impacting local government.

Ethics credit: .5

Ethics Lessons from HBO’s Succession
Session 7
Friday, March 15 2:00-3:15pm
Trinity River Ballroom
Session Description:
HBO’s hit series Succession follows a fictional media company led by a legendary patriarch. As the title suggests, the patriarch’s children are angling to seize the throne and succeed their father as the company’s CEO. In this presentation, the presenter tracks the power plays of the company’s C-level executives and general counsel, explaining whether or not their on-screen actions comply with specific ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct (spoiler alert: most of the time, they don’t). Through the lens of this captivating series, the presenter provides an entertaining way for participants to obtain ethics hours.

Ethics credit: 1.0

Human-Centered Conflict De-Escalation
Session 8
Friday, March 15 3:30-4:45pm
Trinity River 3
Session Description:
Working in university law enforcement, campus de-escalation skills are an important methodology. As a graduate of the SMU’s Dispute Resolution and Conflict Management program, the presenter has had the opportunity to use human-centered skills to elaborate a modality that law enforcement calls the “Critical Decision-Making Model.” Participants will learn how law enforcement employs this model in managing critical incidents, including those involving individuals who may be experiencing a mental health crisis.
Adding Divorce Coaching To Your Practice
Session 9
Friday, March 15 3:30-4:45pm
Trinity River 4
Session Description:
Divorce coaching is recognized by the American Bar Association as “a flexible, goal-oriented process designed to support, motivate, and guide people going through divorce to help them make the best possible decisions for their future.” In this session, we will discuss the role of the divorce coach before, during, and after the divorce. The discussion will include how the skills of a mediator are a natural match for divorce coaching.
How to Mediate Within the Limits of Texas Law - Practice Suggestions for Helping People Reach Agreements They Believe In
Session 10
Friday, March 15 3:30-4:45pm
San Jacinto
Session Description:
Texas law requires a restriction on mediators: "A mediator may not impose his own judgment on the issues for that of the parties." (TX CP&R Code 154.023(b)) We will explore the meaning of this restriction and why it is so important for mediators to follow and respect it. So, what CAN mediators do? Mediators should validate emotions, support conciliatory gestures, maintain a curious rather than an accusatory mindset, ask lots of questions, and help with brainstorming, agendas, and proposals.

Ethics credit: 1.25

Unpacking Meaning and Decision-Making Through Questions
Session 11
Friday, March 15 3:30-4:45pm
Trinity River Ballroom
Session Description:
Effectively using questions is critical for mediators, facilitators, and conflict coaches. This session focuses on two areas. First, practice unpacking the meaning behind a client’s metaphors by crafting powerful questions to evoke new awareness and shift the client forward. Second, learn how to ask a series of Cartesian questions to help the client gain perspective and understanding of what is and what could be.

Ethics credit: .25

Aggressive Negotiations and Diplomatic Solutions: Star Wars and Conflict Resolution
Saturday, March 16 8:30-10:00am
Session Description:
In this keynote, Noam Ebner, co-editor of Star Wars & Conflict Resolution: There Are Alternatives to Fighting (2022, DRI Press), will draw connections between the Star Wars saga and negotiation and mediation and discuss benefits that merging conflict resolution with pop culture poses for the ADR field. Through exploring Star Wars case studies and the challenges they raise, participants will gain new insights into negotiation and mediation—in a galaxy far, far away, and much closer to home.
Practice Makes Perfect—Tips on Mediation from the Mediator's Perspective and the Litigator's Prospective
Session 12
Saturday, March 16 10:00-11:00am
Trinity River 3
Session Description:
With vast experience as both mediator and litigator, the presenter will offer practical approaches to mediating from both the mediator's perspective and the litigator's prospective.
Solve People, Not Problems!
Session 13
Saturday, March 16 10:00-11:00am
Trinity River 4
Session Description:
Based on Dr. Guinn’s scientifically validated profile assessment (CMP), this session equips leaders with skills to assess the triggers within people’s personalities, and match each person with a personality style that will generate instant rapport. Change management is incredibly difficult in today’s work environment. To effectively change the culture of a team, we must first have the buy-in of the people involved. Too often we jump ahead to fix an issue and end up with even more fires to put out. This session will equip participants with the ability to quickly assess the triggers behind the problem so they can eliminate recurring problems and get back to doing what they do best.
Mediate Like a Maverick
Session 14
Saturday, March 16 10:00-11:00am
San Jacinto
Session Description:
Every trained mediator understands the science of mediation as learned through the various types of mediation trainings taken. However, understanding the science (processes involved) of mediation and the quality of the actual practice are two different things. This presenter will discuss how success in mediation has a lot to do with the personal disposition of the mediator and the mediator’s capacity to help people resolve their disputes without a feeling of loss.

Ethics credit: .5

Mediator Holistic Wellness
Session 15
Saturday, March 16 10:00-11:00am
Trinity River Ballroom
Session Description:
This workshop proposes to interrogate current self-care literature and best practices around the ethics of self-care, accountability, and close personal and professional self-monitoring of the mediator. Drawing from the wisdom of selected African proverbs, this session will offer ethical and self-care protocols such as daily debriefing, interdisciplinary spiritual practices, and the value of life coach feedback to fortify professional mediators.

Ethics credit: 1.0

Civility 911: The Importance of Civility in Mediations
Saturday, March 16 11:15am-12:30pm
Session Description:
The lack of civility continues to decline as conflicts rise. During this session, a panel of expert mediators will share experiences and participants will learn the importance and ethical considerations of civility—simply acting with formal politeness when communicating, working with clients, and conducting business—and how it should be the cornerstone of your mediation practice. Civility creates successful connections.

Ethics credit: .75