Conference Sessions

The Great 8: Conflict Currencies and the Resolution Ratio

Friday Plenary
Friday, February 23 9:15 - 10:45 AM
Incanto Ballroom

Session Description:

Ever wonder why a matter doesn’t resolve even when a lot of money is on the table, or why a conflict lingers even when an apology is given? What more does it take?

Learn about the GREAT 8 CONFLICT CURRENCIES and how you can apply the RESOLUTION RATIO to balance out the debits and credits at the heart of the conflicts you deal with and to bring peace.

The Art of Recognizing Transformative Moments in Mediation

Concurrent Session 1
Friday, February 23 11:00 AM - 12:30 PM
Sala Mezzo

Session Description:

This interactive participatory workshop will examine the mediation process and, in particular, the opportunities for "transformative moments" that arise in many mediations. Distinguishing from the pure transformative approach to mediation, the discussion will be focusing on particular moments or occasions during mediation that have the potential to be empowering and even transformative for the parties – perhaps even the lawyers- and what mediators can and should do to ensure that these are acknowledged and addressed.

Addressing Power Imbalances and Bias in Employment Mediation

Concurrent Session 2
Friday, February 23 11:00 AM - 12:30 PM
Sala Promenade

Session Description:

Employment disputes present classic power imbalances. The session will identify strategies to overcome such imbalances by exploring the following approaches: the availability of information, the use of subject matter experts, the inclusion of non-legal “support" participants, and the structure of employment dispute resolution processes. The session will pose ethical considerations and discuss whether the individuals with less power do better in a voluntary negotiated process or in litigation. Lessons learned can be used to improve employee/employer relations beyond the dispute resolution proceeding.

Ethics credit: .25

Family Reconciliation and Intervention Mediation

Concurrent Session 3
Friday, February 23 11:00 AM - 12:30 PM
Sala Cristallo

Session Description:

When people say "Family Mediation" in Texas, we think "divorce" because this training is required in any mediation regarding the parent-child relationship. Did your Family Mediation Training teach you how to reconcile marriages, partnerships, or families; resolve generational disputes; create discipline plans for intact, divorced, or blended families; etc.? Isn’t mediation more suited to resolution than dissolution? So why is dissolution in family mediation the more common process?

Sharon and her team at Innovative Alternatives, Inc., have created a unique format for mediation called Family Reconciliation Mediation (FRM), and a mental health format called Family Intervention Mediation (FIM) that is utilized if a mental health issue is suspected. If an undiagnosed mental health issue is present in one or both parties and a treatment plan to address the condition(s)is not negotiated in mediation, we are dooming the agreement to failure because those parties may not have the ability to keep their agreements. Come learn more about this powerful process for the benefit of many of your clients.

Ethics credit: .5

Eleven Common Mistakes Mediators Make When Developing Business

Concurrent Session 4
Friday, February 23 11:00 AM - 12:30 PM
Incanto Ballroom

Session Description:

Few mediators are getting the quantity or quality of cases that they would like, and the field is becoming increasingly competitive. What can you do to optimize your approach to business development and set yourself up for long-term success? This interactive workshop combines the big picture observations of a business development coach with exercises and discussions. Participants brainstorm and collaborate with fellow mediators, which enables them to think through their own circumstances in a new way. The goal is for each mediator to leave with three concrete actions they can take to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of their business development activities going forward.

Financial Decisions in Divorce

Concurrent Session 5
Friday, February 23 2:00 - 3:30 PM
Sala Mezzo

Session Description:

In this session, Pam will discuss the role that a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA) plays in mediation from pre-divorce preparation to post-divorce checklists. Pam will discuss the intersection between mediation and financial realities of divorce including strategies to efficiently divide assets such as residential property, retirement plans, and stock options. Other financial topics such as Social Security, college planning, and child & spousal support will be addressed.

Ethics credit: .25

The Intersection of Mediator Ethics, Disputant Ethics, and Self-Determination

Concurrent Session 6
Friday, February 23 2:00 - 3:30 PM
Sala Promenade

Session Description:

Mediator ethics have evolved over the past 20+ years. Ethical standards for mediators are provided by both the State Bar of Texas ADR Section and the Texas Mediator Credentialing Association, and most basic mediation training modules place great emphasis on the ethical behavior of mediators during a mediation. However, although there is a process to discuss ground rules or guidelines for a successful mediation with the disputants, there is little or no discussion of disputant ethics in a mediation.
One of the underpinnings of a mediation is the capacity of the parties (disputants) to operate from a position of self-determination. As mediators are expected to adhere to their ethics and provide guidelines for healthy communications during mediation, they are also expected to determine the disputants' capacity for self-determination. This workshop will explore how the recognition of mediator ethics, disputant ethics, and self-determination improves the potential for a successful outcome in any mediation.

Ethics credit: 1.5

What a Mediator Should Know About the Overlap of Immigration Law with Other Areas of Law, and Implications for the Parties

Concurrent Session 7
Friday, February 23 2:00 - 3:30 PM
Sala Cristallo

Session Description:

Immigration law overlaps with many other areas of law, including corporate, civil, employment, and family law. A mediator that can recognize certain immigration concepts and areas of overlap can only add value to the mediation and leave a lasting impression on the parties.

Everybody Does It: Dealing with Diversity Issues in Mediation

Concurrent Session 8
Friday, February 23 2:00 - 3:30 PM
Incanto Ballroom

Session Description:

Most of us spend the greatest amount of time outside our homes in the workplace, and this is also where diversity is thrust upon us more than in any other place. As the EEOC enters its 20th year of providing mediation services for employment discrimination disputes, we invite you to learn more about the largest Employment Discrimination Mediation Program in the U.S. for "private sector" employers. We have learned from our more than 210,000 mediations that “diversity issues” arise merely from the fact that we are a nation of very diverse people. Accordingly, we bring our own “back packs” – our own bundles of prejudice – to every situation, and the real question is how do mediators address diversity issues in our mediations, including those that may impact our own neutrality?

Experienced Mediators and Conflict Resolvers for the EEOC share their insights on self-awareness and preparation for mediations with special emphasis on diversity matters. This interactive workshop is designed to help attendees recognize their own biases and to collectively determine best practices for dealing with diversity issues that arise before (to mediate or not?), during (what now?!) and after (self-reflection) mediation.

Ethics credit: .25

Advanced Training on Effective Joint Sessions

Concurrent Session 9
Friday, February 23 3:45 - 5:15 PM
Sala Mezzo

Session Description:

The presentation will include the following: How to sell the joint session in an anti- joint session environment; should we give the joint session a new name and why it might help; what are the different varieties of joint sessions; does the joint session always have to be at the beginning; should we think of the mediator’s introduction differently; how the mediator brings peace and hope in the room; what never to say in the joint session.

The Role of Ombudsman Programs in Organizational Conflict Resolution Systems

Concurrent Session 10
Friday, February 23 3:45 - 5:15 PM
Sala Promenade

Session Description:

A panel of experienced ombudsman practitioners will speak about practicing in their respective organizations and answer questions from the audience. The goal of this session is to have an open and frank discussion about the advantages and challenges ombudsman programs bring to an organization’s conflict resolution system. The ombudsman practitioners will answer questions ranging from standards of practice to how their programs have impacted the community culture and climate of the organizations they serve. If you’ve had questions about the benefits and challenges of a program and/or the Ombudsman field itself, this is your chance to find out directly from Ombudsman practitioners.

Why Mediations Fail

Concurrent Session 11
Friday, February 23 3:45 - 5:15 PM
Sala Cristallo

Session Description:

Over the last three years, Cecilia H Morgan has surveyed over 261 mediators across the United States and asked a simple question. “In your experience why do mediations fail? “. This workshop is highly interactive to find the “cures” for the problem mediations. Come to be a problem solver and use our collective knowledge to resolve disputes.

Ethics credit: .25

Cutting Edge Issues in Mediations with LGBT Parties

Concurrent Session 12
Friday, February 23 3:45 - 5:15 PM
Incanto Ballroom

Session Description:

This session will focus on training new and advanced family mediators in practical tips, tools, and issue-spotting to use in the creative and successful resolution of disputes involving the LGBT community, including the state of LGBT law, retroactivity of the Marriage Equality Decision and its implementation, and future legal horizons.

Ethics credit: .25

Non-verbal Communication in ADR in an International World

Concurrent Session 13
Saturday, February 24 8:30 - 10:00 AM
Sala Mezzo

Session Description:

In a world where conflict is a part of everyday life, ADR platforms are welcomed worldwide. However, knowledge of only the mediation process isn’t sufficient for mediators to be successful. Mediators must recognize the importance of non-verbal communication in resolving disputes. Non-verbal cues provide important information about what the parties are feeling in mediation. Parties also instinctively make their assessment of the mediator based on non-verbal cues. However, non-verbal communication can vary greatly across countries, cultures, and regions. This session will help you strategically recognize and use non-verbal communication effectively to improve your mediation sessions.

Multidisciplinary Co-Mediation

Concurrent Session 14
Saturday, February 24 8:30 - 10:00 AM
Sala Promenade

Session Description:

There are numerous benefits to the co-mediation model, especially in the current mediation market. These benefits are enhanced even more when one mediator is an attorney and the other a mediator from another profession. Two mediators who often work together will discuss the many advantages this co-mediation model has provided in cases of insurance mediation following a catastrophe and also in family mediation.

Elder Mediation Workshop

Concurrent Session 15
Saturday, February 24 8:30 - 10:00 AM
Sala Cristallo

Session Description:

Elder and Adult Care Mediation has become a specialized component in family mediation in communities around the globe. Because of the diversity of families and often sensitive nature of Elder Mediations, marketing to these families and aging specialists requires a proactive approach. Elder Mediators require specialized training because of the unique dynamics of family roles, replete with medical issues involved. Elder and Adult Care Mediation addresses the diversity of families and the generational challenges each family presents. The needs and concerns among family members or between family members and long-term care facilities in relation to caring for a senior bring a unique dynamic that requires special marketing and mediation skills.
Special mediation skills support quality mediation opportunities to help families have the conversation and the resulting plan that they need to support their senior family member. Based on a model of active listening skills, learn a mediation skill that frames the mediation experience for families to embrace a shift from a conflict to a more cooperative dialogue by using counter stories for a robust resolution.
This presentation on Elder and Adult Care Mediation is designed to introduce a five-point plan that will increase your business opportunities, unique mediation skill set, and profit margin.

Ethics credit: .25

Tricks of Master Negotiators and Problem Solvers: Positioning Yourself for Maximum Negotiating Leverage and Defusing Jerks, Liars, and Saboteurs

Concurrent Session 16
Saturday, February 24 8:30 - 10:00 AM
Incanto Ballroom

Session Description:

Ms. Abrams will present and share specialized and highly effective tricks of the trade that include information on the neuroscience of decision-making and understanding the psychological dynamics of negotiating with difficult personalities. She will explore the diagnosis of different personality types and the negotiation strategies to use with each type, including how to diffuse volatile or highly emotional situations. This session will provide practitioners with tricks to expand your tool chest to maximize leverage and get the best deal while incorporating practical and ethical considerations for mediators.

Ethics credit: .25

The Critical Conversation: Building Bridges Through Conflict in this Polarized Society

Saturday Plenary
Saturday, February 24 10:15 - 11:30 AM
Incanto Ballroom

Session Description:

An increasingly toxic environment has permeated all aspects of our lives - not only with regard to politics, but religion, workplace, family, and even our discussions at the dinner table. As a result, social media takes on new meaning as we find ourselves tackling major issues that affect each of us individually and as representatives of a profession that prides itself on it's ability to build bridges and remain neutral without reacting to our own biases.

During this interactive presentation focusing on ethical best practices, our panel will share their insights into this important topic, and you will have an opportunity to share your own insights and obtain new understanding of our role as neutrals as we assist others in working through their differences constructively.

Ethics credit: .25

Domestic Violence Training for Family Mediators

Saturday, February 24 1:00 - 5:30 PM
Sala Promenade

Session Description:

The Texas Council on Family Violence will provide the 4-hour domestic violence training that complies with the SB 539 requirement for child-custody mediators.

The training includes these components:
• Dynamics of domestic violence
• Child exposure and resiliency
• Intersection of domestic violence (DV) and child custody, including the Texas statutory framework
• Trauma-informed, safety centered mediation practice

Presenters:

Krista Del Gallo, Policy Manager, Texas Council on Family Violence

Marta Pelaez, CEO, Family Violence Prevention Services in San Antonio

Marisa Balderas, Director of Legal Services, Family Violence Prevention Services in San Antonio