Monday, February 7, 2011

Mediation and Killer Shoes

Thursday, January 20, a new TV show debuted on the USA Network called Fairly Legal. The show is about a Mediator and while it is obviously show business, shallow and meant to attract an audience, it is still the first show that actually portrays mediation as a profession.

The central character is a mediator and the show is about her and the real job that she does. She is cute and sexy and runs around in these killer high heeled shoes but is not some flakey person like mediators portrayed in the movie The Wedding Crashers. She is smart, intelligent and was a lawyer but decided to quit the law because she felt she could do more good as a mediator.

The show obviously does not portray Mediation the way it is or should be done in terms of how the process takes place, but it does introduce the public to and give information about Mediation. It shows that Mediation is an alternative dispute resolution tool and something that a judge doesn’t do or can not handle. It is also something that a lawyer cannot handle.

The show illustrated the value of Mediation through 3 different scenarios. The first was as she stopped for her morning coffee and stepped into a robbery in progress. Before things could escalate into violence, she asked the would-be robber what he wanted and what his needs were and then asked the same thing of the store owner. That piece of mediation most closely resembles what is supposed to happen in real-life although it was in an absolutely ridiculous setting.

The common message of all of the scenarios was that the Mediator was delving much deeper into the issues that were underlying the actual cases, and it is this more profound approach that actually helped the parties come up with a better solution than otherwise would have been available to them – through the legal system.

Does following the letter of the law really work in achieving the fair result? Or does it often fall short? The Mediator does not analyze and apply cases and statutes to a given problem, as would a Judge or a lawyer. She tries to delve into people’s interests and needs, in order to help them find a real long term solution that is going to work for everyone.

And did I mention? She wears killer shoes!!

1 comment:

  1. Divorce litigation over property, parental rights, and pride destroys families. The cost of court is high both financially and emotionally.