AAA Handbook on Mediation - 2nd Edition - Electronic
AAA Handbook on Mediation - 2nd Edition - Hardcover
MEDIATING OFF THE GRID
Cris M. Currie
The debate over “evaluative” versus “facilitative” mediation is now largely between attorney-mediators and mediators who are not attorneys. Those on both sides of this divide are becoming ever more frustrated with the divisive labeling.1 Leonard Riskin tried to help resolve the issue with his well-known “grid for the perplexed.” The grid describes four general ways that mediation is being done. Riskin’s intention was to “communicate with some clarity about what can, does, and should happen in a mediation,” and enhance decision-making about the selection of mediators.2 But instead of creating clarity, the grid, in my view, has led to even greater confusion. The problem is that it provides no guidance as to how mediation could or should be done, or how it would be done by any particular mediator. Therefore, it provides little help with decision making about the selection of a mediator. Nevertheless, and this is most troubling, the grid has been widely used to support and legitimize several questionable forms of mediation practice.3
After briefly critiquing Professor Riskin’s model, I will discuss an alternative approach to predicting mediator behavior. My approach
Cris M. Currie holds a Master of Arts degree in conflict resolution from Antioch University and is a registered nurse. He is a retired mediator and conflict management instructor and was founder and former co-director of the Dispute Resolution Center of Spokane County, Washington.