In episode 026 of The Civil Engineering Podcast, Chris Knutson, PE interviews a successful attorney and mediator, Ken Strongman on the basics of mediation and dives in on a couple of items associated with preparation for mediation and what to expect during the mediation process as an engineer.
Here are some of the questions asked in this episode:
- What is mediation
- How many parties can participate in mediation
- What does the environment look like in a mediation
- Who chooses the mediator
- What are the qualities of a good mediator
Quotes to think about:
Here are some key points discussed in this episode about How to Resolve Conflict In Civil Engineering Projects Through Mediation:
- Mediation is the process of resolving conflicts.
- Almost all professional service contracts have clauses for mediation
Mediation – you come together to craft the solution to the problem with the help of a mediator (may take 1-3 months)
Litigation – you go to the court and have a judge or jury solve your case (based on the court’s time schedule usually takes 5-6 years to come to resolution)
Arbitration – it’s a private judging with arbitrators making the final decision and there’s no appeal (you have control over the time schedule)
Four major steps for engineers in the preparation of mediation:
- Prepare yourself, your expectations, your realities, your intent, know what you want to communicate, know what your goals needs and interests are in a solution
- Do a risk benefit analysis of where you’re at in the process
- Understand where the best and worst alternatives to negotiate a settlement would be
- Develop some settlement scenarios: what can you live with, think outside the box
- Recognize that the other side has interests, goals and needs as well
- Prepare your attorney, define your issues with them, prepare a decision tree, find out how the attorney wants to represent and showcase you
- Prepare the opposition – their attorney, their adjusters, their decision makers
- Provide the decision makers all the information of what is really going on, and send copies of the mediation brief to other parties
- Prepare the mediator – educate the mediator
- Consider site visits and other pre-session preparations
Qualities of a good mediator:
- Able to build trust and confide in quickly
- Excellent interpersonal skills
- Patience and sense of humor
- Creativity in solving problems
- Able to think outside of the box
- Willing to do everything that he/she can to assist a settlement
Almost all disputes are initially communication issues, but mediation can help get the communication going again and help to keep your project back on track.
About Ken Strongman:
Ken Strongman is an attorney with over 14 years of experience and a growing national reputation as an attorney, mediator, and mediation trainer, who has successfully conducted more than a thousand mediations.
His major practice areas include business, securities, construction defects, real estate, insurance, technology/IT, intellectual property, employment, environment, energy, and trusts & estates. He is also a Judge Pro Tem. His degrees in Urban & Regional Planning (U.C. Davis) and Business Administration & Information Systems (Golden Gate Univ.) provide a solid basis for accelerated resolution of legal issues in these subject matter areas. He is also serves as a Mediator and Arbitrator for the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.
Please leave your comments or questions in the section below on your experience with mediation in resolving conflicts. We hope you enjoyed this episode of The Civil Engineering Podcast.
To your success,
Anthony Fasano, PE, LEED AP
Engineering Management Institute
Author of Engineer Your Own Success
This episode is brought to you by PPI, the leader of civil engineering FE or PE exam preparations. Use promo code CIVIL for 20% discount at PPI2Pass.com/coach.