LaRocco & Associates, Inc.
Public Affairs Solutions
1125 South 17th
Arlington, Virginia 22202
December 28, 1999
I recently attended your four-day mediation course in Mill Valley and would like to provide you with feedback from my experience. I am not an attorney and work with my family in our public affairs and lobbying firm based in Washington, DC, and the Northwest. Your seminar was recommended by a mutual friend, Jerry Spolter, who knew of our interest in mediation to help deal with the issues and conflicts that arise with our clients. This course was ideal as a foundation for the services that we offer and, as a result, I would highly recommend it to attorneys and non-attorneys alike for assistance in developing effective communication skills with their clients.
The format of this course is atypical and was a welcome change from the steady barrage of presenters that normal seminars offer. We remained constantly interactive from the initial introduction of our classmates to the role playing to the movie segments. In the role playing exercises, I was stunned to find myself angered at my opposition or, as the mediator, trying to work with those who were similarly impassioned. It was extremely valuable to have professional mediators in the role-play exercises. They helped advance stalemates and deadlocked situations, and I appreciated the critiques received from them and the participants.
The speakers were also vital to the education. In particular, it was crucial to hear about actual situations and beneficial methods that assist the parties in coming to resolution. In particular, it was crucial to hear about actual situations and beneficial methods that assist parties in coming to resolution. It was hard to fight the temptation to provide my opinions and my solutions. The first conflict I mediated had me looking at one issue, financial compensation. But, as we continued, we uncovered personal resentments that became essential to the resolution.
On a personal note, I have experienced mediation to work not only with clients but also with family, friends, and colleagues. There have been instances where it was more effective to introduce and discuss the goals, and to work towards those goals, rather than focus on the problems. I can now recognize conflict as a beginning point to help draw out underlying issues that may have never surfaced otherwise. This process can be used as the initial action as opposed to the final option.
Thank you for offering this seminar. I thoroughly enjoyed the time spent and I hope others will get as much out of it as I did. I am interested in attending an advanced course for those wishing to hone their skills from the introduction course.
With warmest regards,
Matthew L. LaRocco
Senior Vice President