Dispute Resolution Section Blog: 7 Tips to Reclaim Civility in Conflict:

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    In these tumultuous times, the American Bar Association's annual Mediation Week is an opportunity to reflect on and consider the value of mediation for addressing conflict in our lives. Lisa Derr and Amy Koltz offer seven tips for learning, engaging in, and sharing about mediation.

    Lisa L. Derr & Amy H. Koltz

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    Oct. 17, 2017 -- Have you ever been in a legal dispute that absorbed all your resources? Not just financial, but your time and emotional energy as well?

    Lisa Derrcom llderr derrlaw Lisa Derr, U.W. 1987, is a partner with Derr & Villarreal in Beaver Dam, Oshkosh, and West Bend, where she concentrates her practice in family law and workplace mediation.

    Amy Koltzcom amy mediatemilwaukee Amy H. Koltz, Marquette 2003, is executive director of Metro Milwaukee Mediation Services, Inc., Milwaukee, where she specializes in housing-related mediation including foreclosure and eviction.

    Mediation and other alternative dispute resolution (DR) methods give parties the ability to control their future. Parties determine timing and issues to discuss and come to a settlement that works for them.

    Minimizing the financial and emotional costs of litigation explains why the field of alternative dispute resolution has grown tremendously in the last several decades. Attorneys, judges, and the public recognize that there are multiple paths to justice, and that many cases are not suited for the adversarial process.

    In 2011, the American Bar Association (ABA) declared the third week of October “ABA Mediation Week,” building on the efforts of other national, state, and local organizations which celebrate during the month of October.

    This year, ABA Mediation Week is Oct. 15 – 21, 2017, with the theme “Mediation, Civility and the Power of Understanding.”

    In recognition, take time this week to:

    1. Visit the State Bar of Wisconsin Dispute Resolution website – Find past DR blog posts, section resources, and articles pertaining to mediation, arbitration, and negotiation from the Wisconsin Lawyer and InsideTrack.

    2. Check out Mediate.com – Explore articles appealing to the attorney, client, and mediation practitioner perspectives. Find a local mediator or advertise your mediation services.

    3. View the ABA’s Dispute Resolution Video Center - This site, through a partnership between the ABA and Suffolk University, contains video examples of mediation and other dispute resolution methods as applied in various contexts.

    4. Attend a mediator training – Training opportunities are regularly listed online. You can find upcoming training with Wisconsin Association of Mediators and the Collaborative Family Law Council.

    5. Volunteer at a local mediation center – Volunteering is an excellent opportunity to build your skills as a mediator and give back to your community. Many mediation centers are affiliated with the local courts, while others work in the community through nonprofit organizations.

    6. Share this post on Facebook – Help spread the word and share information about mediation and arbitration as alternatives to litigation.

    7. Engage in dialogue to seek understanding – Many disputes arise from misunderstanding or failure to communicate. Build your skills through this virtual workshop on dialogue, available free through the Public Conversations Project in partnership with JAMS Foundation.

    And after Mediation Week is over, consider incorporating mediation and other alternative dispute resolution skills into your daily problem-solving toolkit.

    This article was originally published on the State Bar of Wisconsin’s Dispute Resolution Blog. Visit the State Bar sections or the Dispute Resolution Section web pages to learn more about the benefits of section membership.