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‘Dispute Resolution Magazine’ publishes Wissler article

December 02, 2011

An article, “Party Participation and Voice in Mediation,” by Roselle Wissler, Research Director of the College of Law’s Lodestar Dispute Resolution Program, was published in the Fall 2011 edition of Dispute Resolution Magazine.

The article summarizes some of the findings reported in Wissler’s article, “Representation in Mediation: What We Know from Empirical Research,” previously published in the Fordham Urban Law Journal.  Using data from exit surveys of parties who attended court-connected mediation in either general civil cases or domestic relations cases, Wissler examined the relationships among lawyers’ presence in mediation, party participation, and “voice,” or parties’ sense that they had an opportunity to express their views. 

Lawyers’ presence in mediation seemed to have a larger effect on party participation than on parties’ sense of voice.  Not surprisingly, parties’ level of participation during mediation was related to whether they felt they had voice. But some parties who did little or no talking, or whose lawyers talked a lot, still felt they had voice, Wissler discovered. These findings suggest that some parties might feel they have voice through their lawyers, perhaps depending on how well their lawyers understand and communicate their interests and views.

Importantly, voice had stronger and more consistently favorable relationships with parties’ assessments of mediation and the mediator than did how much the parties or their lawyers talked.  Thus, according to Wissler’s research, lawyers and mediators need not only to facilitate parties’ participation but also to ensure that parties feel their views are expressed in order to enhance parties' experience in mediation. 

To read the article, click here.

Wissler, a Faculty Fellow in the Center for Law, Science & Innovation, conducts empirical research on mediation, arbitration, and other alternative dispute resolution (ADR) processes. Her research and writing address various policy issues relating to ADR and examine the factors that contribute to the use and effectiveness of ADR processes. Wissler’s other research interests include alternate compensation systems and decision making concerning liability and damages in civil cases.