For those who don’t know me, I was involved in a personal lawsuit before becoming going to law school and becoming a lawyer. Initially, I didn’t know much about mediation, other than it was a third party facilitated negotiation. I felt that court was the only way to go. But, after it was all over, I felt that court process was not completely satisfying, even though on paper, we “won”. It was a very odd feeling. I remember my senior mentor who’s a lawyer had warned me, years before my trial, that no one comes out of litigation happy. I did’t get that and didn’t want to believe him. Surely if you win, you must feel “vindicated”? It must bring satisfaction, right?? But, in reality, that was not true for me. It made me wonder if I should have tried to learn more about mediation.
After a few years into practice, I finally met mediators Gregg Fenten and Laura Tarcea. I learned a lot more about mediation from our coffees together. Gregg and Laura convinced me that mediation is a much more civilized way to resolve disputes, not litigation. I would say to myself, after our coffees: “Wouldn’t it be great if everyone could listen in to our conversation?”
I learned so much about mediation: what it is and what it isn’t. For example, I was worried that because mediation is an “out of court” option, it is a “law less” world! Turns out that I was wrong! Also, it isn’t about giving in, or just splitting the difference. It’s about people who are in conflict to truly work together, to actively listen to each other’s interests, behind their positions, so that they can solve a problem together. In Gregg’s words, mediation goes below the surface, to find out the WHY (parties’ interests) beneath the WHAT (parties’ positions).
Miscommunication and misunderstandings often occur in our daily interactions, which can lead to conflict. A mediator can guide the parties thorough a deeper conversation between the two parties, so that they can arrive at a mutually satisfying resolution.
And, what’s even more surprising to me is that even when parties don’t trust each other, mediation can still work! Of course, nothing in life is a silver bullet. Sometimes, disputes are such that litigation is the only route to go. But I have a feeling that many private disputes can be resolved through mediation, given the chance. I think many people probably make assumptions that mediation is hopeless, when it isn’t. I think that this process is not given the due consideration that it deserves.
So, these videos are created in the spirit of sharing the amazing stuff that I learned. I created two sets of videos.
The first set is on family mediation. My guest speakers are Eva Di Giammarino and Laura Tarcea. Eva is a family lawyer, and both Eva and Laura are mediators. In these interview style videos, they explain what mediation is, from the basic concept, to what to expect in a mediation session. There are 3 of these, so far, with more coming in the future.
In the second set of videos, I talk to Gregg to get a deeper understanding about mediation.
In this set, I challenge him with some of the excuses that I had which led me to avoid mediation. I also asked him to explain how mediation would work in some common types of everyday disputes (case scenarios).
In addition to mediation, we are planning many more videos to educate the public on litigation procedures, both in civil and family litigation. Lawyers Eva Di Giammarino, Samuel Michaels, Dan Rosman and Thomas Kurys will be sharing some of their practice insight on the areas of employment and corporate law. We have an exciting line up of videos to come!
Samuel Michaels speaks on employment law topics:
Dan Rosman talks about the basics in civil litigation:
Creating these videos take team effort. I am deeply grateful to my speakers for all the time they committed to this project. All of them are doing in on a voluntary basis. In addition, I would like to thank my colleagues for reviewing the videos before release: my former classmates at UT’s LLM program, Sandrine Ampleman-Tremblay and Amanda Sierra, my colleague at Self-Rep Navigators Mick Hassell, and Abiramy Uthirakumaran, my former Pre-Law Mentoring student, who is now at Osgoode Hall Law School. Their feedback has hugely improved the quality of our content.
I hope you enjoy these videos. Please support this project by “liking” and subscribing! It’ll mean a LOT to us!
If there are topics you’d like us to present on, please feel free to email me at email@example.com.