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Conversing Through the Mediator: What do Atticus Finch and Bill Cosby Have in Common?

Two of my childhood heroes have fallen from grace. I can see them figuratively falling from the sky out the window of this Airbus 320 as I return from an international arbitration conference in D.C. back to L.A. this 10th day of July 2015.

Each, Finch and Cosby, has been revealed as wholly human (though one is fictional and the other a celebrity); one a racist and the other a male chauvinist pig, possibly a rapist.

But are they really so different from you or me?

One of the more uncomfortable but essential aspects of preparation for, and participation in, mediation of employment disputes is honest- and open- self-scrutiny.  The Soviet made it into a mandatory art form- the practice of samo-kritika (self-criticism).  For the worst of all possible worlds is public shaming, and yet this is what down and dirty litigation is all about.

Public shaming is one of the risks of litigation one seeks to avoid through a mediating resolution.  While the parties themselves could only taunt and threaten, candid assessment of such risks can occur through the diplomatic maneuvers of the mediator.

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