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Impasse is a Fallacy: An Advanced Mediator's Forum

with Lee Jay Berman

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.

This course is a practical training course. This high energy, seriously practical, advanced workshop 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. Together, 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. Seasoned mediators will leave renewed, refreshed and motivated to start applying these new tools immediately.

The beauty of this course is that it exposes you to the experience of the trainer as well as all of the other advanced mediators in the course.  The structure of the course, and why we call it a forum, is that we begin on the first morning by brainstorming in small groups and listing all of the causes of impasse that we face in mediation.  Then we go about figuring out all of the ways that we mediators can avoid running into these hurdles by doing things during each stage of the process to keep them from ever occurring.  We break down the mediation process into five primary stages, we review Len Riskin's mediator style grid, and then we go through each stage of the process and talk about what all of the things are that mediators do there that helps us avoid later impasses.  Operating under the assumption that mediators have the ability, if not responsibility, for seeing potential road blocks on the horizon and preempting them from their own experiences, this course is geared to accelerating those experiences by sharing them and giving each attendee a minimum of 50 new behaviors that will help them make impasse a thing of the past!

If you are finding your mediation practice has plateaued, and you feel like you are calling on the same skills over and over, then this course is for you!  This course is designed to load you up with new skills, motivate you, refresh your sense of collegiality in the profession, and send you out invigorated to go and do your next mediation with a new box of tools and a new sense of responsibility for helping the participants resolve their case.

For more on the topic of the fallacy of impasse, please check out this interview with Lee Jay Berman and Aled Davies on the topic: here.

Course Outline

For the course outline, please click here.

What past participants have said:

"The process changes and insights from the course have had a substantial impact on results in my mediations.  I was pleased with a settlement rate of 85%-90%, but since taking the course (twice) it now stands at 97%.  At the start of a mediation, I am much better positioned to help the parties and confident that I can do so." 

-Michael Leech, Esq., Talk Sense Mediation, Chicago, IL

"Lee Jay is obviously very passionate about the mediation process and has a sincere desire to impart his knowledge and experience to help all of us improve our mediation skills. His generosity in that regard is greatly appreciated. It was two days well spent."

-Craig von Sternberg"

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Approved for 13 hours of MCLE Credits in California.

This course is two full days, Friday and Saturday, beginning daily with breakfast (and registration on the first day) at 8:30 a.m. Class begins at 9:00 and continues to 5:00 daily, with an hour for lunch and one 10-15 minute break in the morning and the afternoon. Lunch and snacks will be served and are included. We typically end by 5:00 p.m. on Saturday. Please arrange to stay to the end and schedule outgoing flights after 7:00 p.m.

Enrollment Pricing

Pricing Options

Regular                                  $1095       

Early Bird                               $975                  (21 Days in Advance)

Government/Non-Profit *      $895                  (FULL-TIME Employees)

Available Discounts

Affiliated Organization*         -$80                  (Member)

Bring A Friend                        -$120                (Each up to two)

Group Discount**                  -$200                (Each for three or more)

NOTE: Mediator's Starter Kit is available at a discounted price of $129 (regular $149) when bundled with enrollment in this course. 

*Maybe subject to verification.

**Registering together from the same company, firm or non-profit organization. 


LOCATION: Offices of American Institute of Mediation 
11355 W. Olympic Blvd., Suite 111
Los Angeles, CA  90064




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