I enjoyed being a trial lawyer and outside general counsel. My work was both interesting and for clients whom I respected. While I had imagined retiring as a mediator, I felt called to transition earlier to full time mediation to be of greater service, along with developing my “night” job as a teacher of yoga, meditation and functional mindfulness to the public, military veterans, companies and professional services firms. Simply put, my mission is to bring peace and teach peace.
As a lawyer, most mediations in which I participated were conducted by mediators using an “evaluative” style that emphasized perceived legal problems, the uncertainties and cost of litigation as a means to impose a settlement, with the goal of leaving the parties “equally unhappy” with the result. I sensed that there were more effective and satisfying ways to resolve differences.
My studies at Pepperdine’s Straus Institute, for an LLM (Master at Laws) degree in Dispute Resolution, confirmed that there are indeed multiple, effective mediation styles. This was practically demonstrated to me by the senior mediators whom I had the honor of “shadowing” for scores of hours as part of the Straus LLM program.
Now in my practical experience as a mediator since 2010, I am deeply gratified to successfully put these methods to work. My greatest satisfaction as a mediator occurs when I see the light of understanding in the faces of parties and counsel as they see that things are a bit different than they expected or assumed – and the path to resolution appears to them. In this way, my cases typically settle with the parties feeling that they made a deal that makes sense and gives them closure.
To learn about my work teaching yoga, meditation and functional mindfulness, please go to MarkFingerman.com.
WHY I AM A MEDIATOR