Richard E. Custin
University of San Diego- School of Business Administration
October 2, 2015
The Law Teacher, Volume XXII, Number 1, Fall, 2015, pps. 2-6
Students from colleges and universities throughout the world recently participated in an international mock mediation competition held in Gainesville, Georgia sponsored by the InterNational Academy of Dispute Resolution (INADR). I had the privilege of coaching a student team from the University of San Diego at this competition. During the competition, students acquired an applied knowledge of mediation and also an appreciation of the benefits of alternative dispute resolution. This valuable experience taught that peacemaking through mediation sets the stage for a satisfactory resolution that is often not possible in traditional courtroom civil litigation. Student participants studied and applied the process of caucus mediation that included, a mediator’s opening statement, party’s opening statements, joint discussion, the caucus and ultimately resolution. An integral component of caucus mediation is a form of “shuttle diplomacy,” which involves a mediator meeting with the parties on an individual basis or in “caucus.” The ultimate goal of the caucus is to cultivate a positive relationship and learn as much information about the parties and their dispute as possible. Students also learned that confidentiality is key to maintaining a trusting relationship with the parties.