By: Lawrence Gordon
Published: October 2021
It has been more than a decade since I decided to become a Florida Supreme Court Certified Circuit Civil Mediator. I was smitten by the Mediation process in the 1980s while attending mediations and negotiating on behalf of several insurance carriers. Mediation was relatively new and rarely used in settling injury claims at that time. I knew right away that I wanted to be a Certified Mediator and own a mediation practice. I was blessed to start Phoenix Mediation in 2018.
I have been a member of the Palm Beach County Bar Association for several years. I am honored to serve on the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Committee. Even though I have published several articles in the Palm Beach County Bar Association Bulletin, this one is different and special. The ADR Committee invited me to write this article in honor of “Mediation Week,” October 18-22, 2021. I want to thank them all for the confidence that they have shown in me. I would like to especially thank Ted Deckert for encouraging me to step forward in his stead as he has historically written the “Bulletin ” article for Mediation Week.
Mediation Week is recognized by both the American Bar Association and the Florida Bar Association. In the past, the American Bar Association has emphasized such Mediation Week themes as Mediation, Civil Discourse, and The Importance of Selecting Diverse Neutrals. This year’s theme is Mapping the Future So Conflict Doesn’t Disrupt. Additionally, the Association for Conflict Resolution (ACR) has declared October 21, 2021, as “Conflict Resolution Day.”
This year’s theme seems very appropriate as we appear to have become a tribal society. Red versus Blue, liberals versus conservatives,
White versus Black and on and on. How do we address these issues and conflicts to avoid them disrupting the future of this great nation? Mediative-type activities may very well be our best path to cooperation, communication, and positive future societal growth. Our best route to a society where diversity, equality, and inclusion become our reality and not just a nice-sounding phrase that’s often spouted while little to nothing changes. A world in which we hear and listen to each other, a society where we accept each other’s points of view even if we can’t agree. Mediative-type activities can create a world where we depersonalize and depressurize situations by focusing on issues, rather than people. One where we do our homework before making asinine ignorant statements, where we keep open minds, care about others, and empathize with our neighbors. We should take time to educate ourselves about our neighbors and remove ourselves from negative situations which have shaped much of our past. Mediation-type activities can certainly help us structure things in a way that lessens conflicts and disruption. We can make a difference.
Once again, our ADR Committee will be doing its part to make Mediation Week a success. We will again ask the Palm Beach County Commission, the Palm Beach County School Board, and various cities throughout Palm Beach County to issue proclamations officially declaring October 18-22, 2021, Mediation Week in their respective municipalities. As a six-term elected official and Vice Mayor in the Town of Haverhill, I previously spearheaded our proclamation process and will continue to do so this year. The Palm Beach County Bar Association President, the ADR Committee chair, and ADR committee members will appear before various commissions to accept proclamations and speak on the importance of Mediation Week and civil discourse.
As usual, the ADR Committee will present its annual lunchtime seminar during Mediation Week. Visit the Palm Beach County Bar Association’s website for details: https://www.palmbeachbar.org/.
Please also watch for details about our signature event, the 19th ANNUAL ADR SEMINAR coming February 2022.
The ADR Committee will continue to offer speakers to civic groups and other professional organizations to discuss mediation and alternate dispute resolution in general. Any group wishing to invite an ADR speaker should contact the ADR Committee Chair: Kenyetta Alexander: email@example.com. We also invite you to visit the ADR Committee webpage at https://www.palmbeachbar.org/adr for previously published articles and other information on mediation and alternate dispute resolution.
Lawrence Gordon is President of Phoenix Mediation, LLC. He is a Florida Supreme Court Certified Circuit Civil Mediator and a Florida Supreme Court Qualified Arbitrator. He’s a member of the Florida Academy of Professional Mediators and serves on the Florida Bar Board of Governors Advisory Committee. Mr. Gordon’s email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.