Interview-Noah Stein



Please answer those questions you consider more appropriate:


  1. What requirements do you think a good mediator should have?


A successful mediator needs to balance three core elements:

  • Deal negotiation skill (including salesmanship, incentive psychology/game theory, and the ability to work from a bigger picture, including, but not limited to the basic legal context).



  1. What training do you consider most adequate to become a good mediator?


  • Cognitive behavioral
  • Business
  • Legal context


  1. In your opinion, what legislative measures would be necessary to effectively promote mediation in general and business mediation in particular? I think the single most important legislation mediators could benefit from would be standardized certifications. A market cannot grow effectively until a product or service has been standardized, and mediation does not have that yet.



  1. What are the benefits of resolving a dispute through mediation rather than through the courts or arbitration? From the perspective of litigation settlement rates, you could argue that litigation is really a de-facto evaluative tool for dispute resolution, and that its biggest weakness is extreme cost. In so many cases mediation can provide just as effective an evaluation if parties can see the potential of the more ‘virtual’ evaluative format that mediation provides. (This is a marketing issue, but I also believe it to be true). Furthermore, litigation expressly ignores the meaning of relationships and the routine failures of communication, which is so often the source of disputes. Sometimes litigation is the most appropriate process, but why put the cart before the horse when you don’t need to. I think mediation’s biggest weakness right now is lack of standardization and awareness).



  1. What is the most complicated aspect of mediation?  Convening. Once parties are at the table, half the battle is won. The parties have actually begun to align, even if they come to no agreement. Before people come to the table they are operating from the powers of leverage and will, enhanced by a bit of chaos.       Bringing people to litigation reduces chaos a bit, though the process is still fuelled by leverage and will. Convening a mediation reduces chaos a bit, while also having them set aside their wilfulness a little bit. What is left is the discussion of leverage and interests. In sum, convening a mediation requires us to extricate people from chaos while demanding that they reform themselves before they arrive.



  1. What conditions should a citizen or enterprise take into account in order to select a good mediator? I think the most important condition for a selectors of a mediator is his or her ability to understand them.       If a mediator can know what is important to his disputants, he can help them get the most of what they want. Mental agility matters too of course, but if the disputants feel that a mediator can help them be successful then perhaps they can.
  1. Do you think that mediation is an institution already implanted in our country? Or do you think that it has not been fully accepted by the citizens? I think that in the United States, mediation is just barely getting established as a profession. Awareness of mediation is only beginning to emerge in the general populace.       As for acceptance, I think that awareness is to limited to even make the assessment as to whether it has been fully integrated. That said, I do believe people are optimistic about its potential when they are familiar with it.



  1. In your opinion, what is the future of mediation in Europe as an extrajudicial method of dispute resolution?  I can only speak for the US, but I do believe that the potential here is large. The economics of litigation are prohibitive for many and I think that people are slightly more predisposed now in comparison to ten years ago to find another way to resolve a dispute.



  1. What advice would you give to those who think of mediation as a future profession? Be willing to play a long game, and be very clear about why you’re doing it.       Be sure you know why it’s right for you, and what you have to offer. And enjoy it.



  1. What is your opinion about online mediation? For which conflicts would online mediation be most useful? I have minimal experience with online mediation, but I think it would be best for small transactional/contractual disputes.



  1. What is the work of an international mediator? I think the work of international mediators is of enormous importance. Resolution of international conflict through the use of a third-party neutral is probably one of the most visible kinds of contribution that can be made by the world of mediation. It is not just political, it is also of vital cultural importance to demonstrate the power and potential effectiveness of ‘alternative’ dispute resolution at all levels.



  1. What does a family mediator do? I believe the most important outcome of family mediation is the ability to facilitate functional outcomes in child custody, divorce, and elder care, that allowing the most effected people to still be cared for rather than being consumed by the dispute itself.



  1. What is criminal mediation? And civil and commercial mediation? Criminal mediation, such as restorative justice, allows for the possibility of having crimes being addressed by someone taking responsibility for their actions, rather than just being punished. Punishment of a perpetrator is often a phyrric victory for a victim. There is a sense of winning but what did they really walk away with. There are instances, particularly where a perpetrator has no internal capacity for remorse, in which restorative justice doesn’t serve, but in so many other circumstances, much can come from it. Civil and commercial mediation can be a boon to business and contractual efficiency if parties are willing to trust in it and if parties are given effective mitigation of downsides (risks of information sharing). As I mentioned elsewhere, the economic cost of litigation is usually under-recognized for both parties, but as these costs become more exposed, the value of mediation will be seen.


  1. What do you think is the key factor so mediation can become a regular extrajudicial method of conflict resolution in the international and business fields? Marketing, mediator certification, and satisfied clients.



  1. Do you think mediation could be a solution to the widespread workload problem of the justice system in our country? I think that this is true, but I think that it goes beyond that. I think that there’s the potential for the culture to see mediation as a preferable method of dispute resolution. I think that there is potential for mediation to be seen as a primary form of dispute resolution and judicial solutions as the alternative to be used when needed.



Please, describe in no more than 10 lines, the work of the organization to which you belong in the field of mediation.


I am a solo mediator whose practice is based in association and community oriented multi-party mediation and facilitations. This includes Homeowners associations, chambers of commerce, multi-party real estate development mediations and the like. I focus on disputes that combine economic transactional and relational failures or sub-optimization. I focus on circumstances that require making distinctions between emotional issues and difficult economic ones while addressing both at the same time.


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