Lawyers as Facilitators: If Not Now, When?


A New York Law Journal article written by Dean Emeritus John D. Feerick ’61 and Adjunct Professor Linda Gerstel discusses the role that lawyers play in facilitating between individuals and the public and private sectors.

Lawyers and neutrals have many skills that translate to part of the ADR spectrum that has often been ignored—facilitation. Many lawyers and neutrals are not familiar with how skills of a facilitator differ from those of a mediator. Often the adjective “facilitative” is used simply to distinguish between styles of mediation- evaluative, facilitative, or transformative. We suggest the need is great to develop in our law schools, bar associations, and ADR institutions: learning, training, and skills with respect to problem-solving…We offer five recommendations to develop trainings, bar programs and rosters to enable the growth and development of a field that has never been more important in the turbulent issues that surround us in the public and private sectors:

(1) identifying and promoting the need and use of facilitators and how facilitators may be used not only when a crisis arises but also in a pre-dispute setting to avoid conflict;

(2) training in law schools and state bar programs;

(3) establishing state bar association committees to further explore development in the field of facilitation;

(4) developing rosters of facilitators, including state rosters similar to current mediator rosters and with the ADR providers such as the AAA, JAMS and CPR; and

(5) learning from current programs both in the legal field and non-legal sectors that have been successful in laying the foundation for building programs for lawyers.

Read the full article.


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