The Florida Supreme Court has ordered a review of its 18-month-old mandatory foreclosure mediation program. Should a similar process come to Wisconsin?
In July 2011, Wisconsin had the 10th highest foreclosure rate in the United States, only four spots behind the State of Florida. Several initiatives in Wisconsin have attempted to inject mediation into the foreclosure process, with varying amounts of success. Purely voluntary processes are flailing – with lenders refusing across the board to even attend the voluntary mediations. More suggestive processes are seeing varying amounts of success. Continue reading “Mandatory Foreclosure Mediation: A Good Idea?”
I remember my first “real” interview after I graduated from MULS (this phrase may explain my lack of success in OCI). One thing the managing attorney said to me continues to stick out in my memory, especially now that I have started my own mediation firm. “Firms are not run like businesses.” He stated this in relation to firms renting versus owning real estate space, but in my experience I have recognized this axiom being true in other respects as well. The one that has stuck out to me is that the hiring process performed by law firms does not conform to standard business practices for HR processes. Continue reading “Law Firms Are Not Run Like Businesses”
On September 1, Green Day’s frontman Billie Joe Armstrong was removed from a Southwest Airlines flight because his pants were too saggy. Two months ago a football player from the University of New Mexico was also removed from a flight, this time by US Airways. With these events taking place in relatively rapid succession, the blogosphere lit up with complaints about the airlines. There are even online petitions and calls for both men to sue their respective airlines.
I view this no differently than the signs I saw as a kid walking into restaurants: “No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service.” A private company has a right to enforce a dress code on patrons.
Those calling for a lawsuit may have their trigger fingers a bit too itchy. This was by no means a restriction based on race, ethnicity, gender, etc. This was a company seeking to enforce a public dress code.
Perhaps this is a potential market opening for any of you with millions just looking for something to do with it – open an airline that allows passengers to wear their pants sagging.
One of the oldest maxims in writing is to never apologize for your work. With that said, I do need to couch this article. I stand by my premise 100%. However, there are always exceptions to a rule. One of my biggest influences in mediation is a former judge, and former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice. I am not saying that a judge cannot mediate, but that you need to go in with your eyes open.
Too often when litigators are choosing a mediator (or even worse when a sitting judge is ordering mediation at a scheduling conference) the conversation goes something like, “So, should we use Judge X or Judge Y?” What does being a former judge necessarily have to do with being a mediator, let alone a good mediator?
As the late great comedian Mitch Hedberg said,
When you’re in Hollywood and you’re a comedian, everybody wants you to do things besides comedy. They say, “OK, you’re a stand-up comedian — can you act? Can you write? Write us a script?” . . . It’s as though if I were a cook and I worked  to become a good cook, they said, “All right, you’re a cook — can you farm?”
I am certainly not the first to recognize this disturbing trend. Continue reading “A Plea for E.N.E.”