Mediate BC Blog

A Chance to Up Your Game

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Mediator and Lawyer, Bill Holder, shares his personal experiences participating in an Advanced Mediation Course at Harvard. Two professors from that course are now coming to Vancouver on March 2, 2020 through the Canadian Bar Association – BC Branch.

I am very fortunate to work at a firm that truly appreciates the value of mediation work and is willing to support its mediators in taking advantage of excellent ADR training opportunities. One such opportunity occurred several years ago when I attended the Advanced Mediation Training Course offered under the Program on Negotiation (PON) at Harvard Law School.

The PON serves a unique role in the world negotiation community. It is a university consortium founded in 1983 and is dedicated to developing the theory and practice of negotiation and dispute resolution. The PON community believes that knowing how to negotiate to solve problems, make deals, build consensus, avoid violence, and manage intractable disputes is an essential competency.

My trip to Harvard provided me with a wider ADR perspective and equipped me with some new “tools” to use in my mediation practice in BC. I can say without hesitation that the training I received not only exceeded my expectations, but gave me the opportunity to work with a network of highly skilled ADR professionals whom I now count as friends.

Two of the individuals who inspired me the most during my time at Harvard were Professors Audrey Lee and David Hoffman. Both have impressive backgrounds in mediation and dispute resolution and are excellent lecturers.

Professor Lee is a senior mediator at the Boston Law Collaborative LLC (“BLC”) and Executive Director at the BLC Institute, a non-profit committed to providing education and training in all areas of ADR. She mediates cases for the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination. She also teaches mediation, negotiation, and conflict management workshops for a variety of corporate and public-sector clients, and has taught negotiation at a number of institutions.

Professor Hoffman is a founding member of the BLC. A renowned mediator, arbitrator, and attorney, he also serves on the faculty of the PON’s Harvard Negotiation Institute, where he teaches the Advanced Mediation Workshop “Mediating Complex Disputes.” He has won several awards for his work as a mediator including the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American College of Civil Trial Mediators and the highest award given by the American Bar Association’s Section of Dispute Resolution, the D’Alemberte-Raven Award.  

I recall speaking to both of them at the end of the course to suggest that they visit BC and conduct workshops for ADR professionals. Both were very open to the idea and in April 2018, Professor Lee came to Vancouver to conduct a well-received half-day seminar on implicit bias.

Given the success of that seminar, we discussed a return visit for a more in-depth workshop and, after a great deal of work on their parts, I am pleased to report that both Professor Lee and Professor Hoffman will be in Vancouver on March 2, 2020 to conduct a one-day Advanced Mediation Workshop.

What can participants expect to learn? Given the presenters’ extensive experience, the topics will range from mediation strategy and process design, to the psychological dimensions of mediation, techniques for breaking impasse, and a discussion of med-arb and other trends in mediation. Finally, expect to explore a variety of topics of key interest in BC, such as culture, diversity and implicit bias in mediation.

We are fortunate in Vancouver to have a dynamic ADR community and the availability of world-class opportunities such as this Advanced Mediation Workshop. For more information, or to register, click here.

About the Author

William (Bill) Holder is a partner at the law firm of Clark Wilson LLP. He works as both a business litigator and mediator serving as the Co-Chair of the Canadian Bar Association BC Branch (CBABC) Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) – Vancouver Section. Bill also serves as the Secretary of the National CBA ADR Section. Bill is listed on the Mediate BC Civil Mediator Roster.

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