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Impasse is a Fallacy

with Lee Jay Berman

90 Minute Webinar / 1.5 MCLE Credit Hours

The American Institute of Mediation is a certified California MCLE provider as approved by the State Bar of California. This course is approved for 1.5 General MCLE credit.

I often wonder who invented the concept of impasse. Who first said, "We are stuck. We cannot go any further."? And who decided that we should give it a name, acknowledge its existence, and make it the scapegoat for all that goes wrong with a mediation?

My guess is that it was the first mediator who had run out of tools. With imagination exhausted, someone threw their hands into the air and declared the negotiation over and decided it was time to send everyone home, declaring an impasse and deeming the mediation process, not just the session, to have failed.

For negotiators to declare impasse can make sense, if you think about it. The goal in negotiation, after all, is to win. And the threat of impasse can sometimes be an effective tactic in achieving that goal. Commercial mediators, however, are hired to settle cases. In this world, impasse is a bad word. Moreover, I think it is a fallacy.

Achieving resolution, by definition, means either avoiding or breaking impasse. If an impasse can be broken, then it was not really an impasse. It was something else. But mostly, it was a dare. It was a temptation for the mediator to buy into the bluff that things were stopped dead in their tracks and it was time to give up.

Before examining the notion of impasse more closely, it is important to take a step back and realize that reaching successful resolution in mediation (i.e. avoiding impasse) begins at the very beginning of the mediation process, with convening, and continues until the agreement is signed. Furthermore, if a mediator's success can be defined by a successful outcome (which may oversimplify the entirety of the mediator's role, but ultimately is the primary goal in commercial mediation), then the mediator is responsible for managing every step of the process with an eye toward anticipating and avoiding the potential for an impasse later in the mediation.

This webinar will examine each of the 5 stages of the mediation process to discuss what steps the mediator needs to take at each stage in order to do their part ot avoid a later impasse.  Mediators will leave this webinar with tools that they can put into effect immediately to improve their practice's settlement rate.

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This advanced webinar will engage you – first in identifying the most common specific causes of impasse, and then in delivering tools that will help you to resolve more cases by avoiding these common traps.  We will explore tools to rethink how you do every stage of the process, beginning with convening a case and the mediator’s introduction, right through how you can manage joint sessions and caucuses more effectively, and then finally how to close the deal more successfully. 

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Please note that all store orders are manually processed during regular working hours.  Please allow up to 72 hours to receive your access code that will permit you to access your downloads. An email will be sent to the email address you use in the above purchase with a link and access code.

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