2071 Oakland Avenue
Piedmont, CA 94611
Fax: (510) 420-8643
June 30, 1999
It has been a little over three months now since I completed your course in Mediation Training and I write to thank you for your enthusiasm in stimulating your students, myself included, to consider the various ways in which mediation can be successful and to celebrate its flexibility.
I concede that when I was first "confronted" with the roleplays I was somewhat skeptical about the direction the course was taking, and I was a rather reluctant participant at first. In my judicial career I have been to too many of these "feely, touchy" training encounters, and I was fearful this was going to be mediation's spin on getting in tune with our inner selves. However, it soon dawned on me that some of the roleplays were exactly what mediators do and what is expected of mediators. I have actually thought about those roleplays during the course of subsequent mediations and smiled: You were way ahead of me!
I particularly found the session on listening very helpful. I had always thought judges were trained in listening ... but not so when it comes to mediation. Judges listen for clues on how to decide the case; mediators listen to learn what are the real issues. Listening and parroting back are two very important attributes of mediation that you really clarified for me, and I have employed those techniques in every mediation since the training.
Please accept my profound gratitude for your enthusiastic presentations and exercises of the techniques of better mediation facilitation. You have truly given me greater insight concerning the virtually unlimited opportunities of mediation. You have transformed this skeptic into a believer. Good luck and continued success to you!