Lawyer Monthly - July 2022

55 JUL 2022 | WWW.LAWYER-MONTHLY.COM hat first motivated you to establish the Lightstone Academy for Conflict Resolution? Originally, Lightstone Mediation Services had been running for over a decade with a primary focus on mediation. The Lightstone Academy was created out of two focus groups I had in the fall of 2021 that felt that the name was not reflecting what services I provided and that it was too vague. Hence, the Lightstone Academy for Conflict Resolution. As time drew on, I recognised online opportunities that made themselves known during COVID, and I decided to pivot, focusing mainly on delivering quality conflict resolution training to those interested in receiving a designation to become a qualified or chartered mediator. Between the years of 2019 and 2022, the Lightstone Academy created three courses. The introductory Essentials (40 hours), the advanced Quintessentials (40-hours) and the advanced Media Studies and Conflict Resolution (21 hours) were all accredited by the Alternative Dispute Resolution Institute of Ontario (ADRIO). The Lightstone Academy realised the impact it was making when a former participant of the Essentials suggested she would take a plumbing course if it was taught by Helen Lightstone. In your view, what are the most useful qualities for a successful mediator to possess? A mediator should know how to listen. This is extremely important as a mediator needs to hear what a party is saying or not saying. In addition to listening, it is important to synthesise the information – I have often suggested that a mediator is like a choreographer, elegantly and seamlessly directing the parties on how and where to move, often without them ever knowing it. Neutrality is very important and reaches far beyond not representing either party, or favouring one over the other. It also reaches into the core of confidentiality. By that, I mean anything said to the mediator in a caucus (in confidence) cannot be repeated to the other side (unless there is permission). This action helps the disputant to build trust and rapport with their mediator, an essential key in running an effective process. In my training, I have my participants play the part of a mediator and breach confidentiality to see how the disputants will act upon the neutrality breach. This helps those playing the disputants consider its impact on the dispute and decide if they need to withdraw. I believe that a simulation like this will prepare everyone for a possibility that a situation like this could occur. A good mediator also knows when to be directive. You should know what to say and when to say it. Mediators assist both parties to come up with a mutual agreement that works for both. I would like to quote my colleague, Michael Leb: “When mediating civil lawsuits, a mediator needs to be able to assimilate facts and understand legal issues quickly and hone in on those aspects of each party's case that present the most risk if the matter does not settle.” In our multicultural society, it is important to be mindful of equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI). Not everyone views conflict with the same lens or has the same life experiences with which to view and manoeuvre through the world. In order to be TrainingaNew Generationof Mediators Mediation and other forms of ADR are fast growing in popularity as an alternative to lengthy and potentially costly litigation. There has also been an accompanying rise in interest from legal practitioners looking to specialise in mediation, though to assume a leading role in these proceedings requires a significant degree of training. In this feature, Helen Lightstone outlines the necessary characteristics and experiences required for aspiring mediators to achieve success. EXPERT INSIGHT W In order to be more thoughtful, the mediator should pay close attention to their disputants, listening to their needs and what is meaningful to them.

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