The Program on Negotiation announces the release of a new mediation training video, produced as a collaborative venture between the Program on Negotiation and the Center for Mediation in Law. The video, entitled Saving the Last Dance: Mediation Through Understanding, demonstrates the “Mediation through Understanding” mediation model that Gary J. Friedman, Jack Himmelstein, and Robert H. Mnookin have developed over the past several years. Focusing on a dispute between a dance company and its recently discharged choreographer over intellectual property and employment issues, the video alternates between excerpts from the mediation itself and an educational commentary.
The Mediation through Understanding model involves the mediator working together with the parties and their lawyers in plenary session, without caucuses or shuttle diplomacy. In this model, the law plays an essential but not necessarily dominant role. The mediator encourages understanding of differing perspectives, concerns, interests and aspirations. On the basis of this understanding, the participants work through the conflict together — allowing tension to arise when necessary — and generate creative options for resolution.
The Saving the Last Dance video is recommended by distinguished mediation teachers and practitioners:
“Saving The Last Dance is just what we have needed in a teaching tape about mediation. One of the founders of the field, Gary Friedman, demonstrates his techniques as a mediator who works with the parties to not only reach agreement, but to focus on the parties’ sense of fairness and meaning. The tape is framed by mediation experts Robert Mnookin and Jack Himmelstein, who provide clarity in describing the conceptual frameworks of mediation that explain the behavioral choices made. Using a dispute with both parties and lawyers in attendance, involving important issues of intellectual and artistic property, business management and real human emotions, this video is one of the richest tools available for teaching about mediation, in all of its dimensions — facilitation of human communication, understanding parties’ interests and needs, brainstorming options, and reaching agreement. The tape is both the most authentic depiction of mediation currently available, and at the same time, divided into pragmatically useful teaching units. A must for any teacher or trainer of mediation who cares about the quality of mediation process!”
— Carrie Menkel-Meadow
Professor of Law, Georgetown University Law Center
Chair, Georgetown-CPR Commission on Ethics and Standards in ADR
Editor of Mediation: Theory, Practice and Policy (2001)
“Saving the Last Dance is a superb teaching tool. In it, virtuoso mediator Gary Friedman demonstrates a very sophisticated approach to conflict resolution based on developing deep understanding–working with lawyers and clients, without a private caucus. This model enjoys a strong following among many of the thousands of people trained in it through the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School and the Center for Mediation in Law, and is a foundational approach in much of Western Europe. Yet this way of mediating is not well-known in some sectors of the mediation, law practice and law school communities in the U.S.
“This tape will change that situation. It demonstrates and explains a way to resolve conflict and fulfill the highest aspirations associated with mediation; and it raises questions about nearly every aspect of conventional mediation practice. I recommend Saving the Last Dance to anyone who teaches, practices or uses mediation — or cares about it.”
— Leonard L. Riskin
C.A. Leedy Professor of Law
Director, Center for the Study of Dispute Resolution
University of Missouri
The Saving the Last Dance video could be used in a number of teaching and training settings: a mediation or ADR survey course, a mediation clinical program, or self-study. At fifty-one minutes in length, it is long enough to present the mediation model in depth, and short enough to fit into a typical class period. Purchasers of the video are also entitled to a written video transcript and the complete set of instructions for the Dance Innovation role play on which the mediation scenario is based.