Harris E. Weinberg Mediation

Neutral Corner

According to the rules of the International Boxing Federation, a boxing ring must measure at least 16 feet by 16 feet. Within that roped off square two contestants engage in the most basic of conflict. There are, in that ring, four corners. One is designated to each of the fighters and his or her handlers. The other two are neutral.

The fighters confront each other in conflict in the center of the ring, and retreat from that conflict to the corners; to their own between rounds, and to a neutral corner in the event of a knockdown.

I am a full time mediator, a professional neutral. I work with parties in conflict daily as they confront each other. Although the process of mediation is designed to avoid the simple win-lose model obvious in the boxing ring, make no mistake that conflict and confrontation are part of that process. The parties in dispute confront each other directly in the center, in joint caucus, and then retreat, with their “handlers”, to their own corners, their private caucuses.

This page also has four corners, and this will be the corner to which I retreat, and from which I will seek to share with you some of the observations I have been allowed to make in the course of my career as a neutral.

Though it is not mine to be a party to the disputes I see, it is uniquely mine, and that of my fellow neutrals, to be witness to the many, complex, and often intimate dynamics present in dispute. And though every dispute is itself unique, so too do all disputes share dynamics in common with each other. It is those things unique that pique our interest because of that very quality of uniqueness. It is those in common that compel us because of our recognition of ourselves and our conflicts.

The trust which a mediator seeks is sacred, and if deemed worthy by the parties of that trust, then he or she is given the opportunity to share in a remarkable variety of knowledge and experience. It is nearly all very human, and surprisingly often profound. And I am the richer for all of those opportunities that have come to me to share in those experiences and that knowledge.

With rare exceptions, we mediators work alone. There are few opportunities or forums for us to share our observations or to reflect with others on the notions we derive from them. It is my hope that this corner will provide that opportunity and forum. I look forward to sharing my thoughts with you and, from time to time, to sharing this corner with fellow neutrals as well.

I hope you’ll join me here.

Click on a title from the list below:

• Decisions. Decisions.

• Alternative to What?

• Birthing a Mediation

• Common Usage

• Don't Even Talk To Me About...

• An Open Letter to the Court

• Supplying the Effort

• Too Many Lawyers