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Teddy Ruxpin and Early Stage Mediation

Mediation can work at any stage of a dispute -- even after trial. But so very often the best time to mediate a conflict is before litigation is commenced. Before, I would argue, a complaint is even filed

Psychology students will tell you of the well-known race track study which demonstrated that bettors were more confident of their pick moments after placing their bets than they were right before laying their money down at the window.

Sales professionals repeat the (probably apocryphal) story that toy manufactures hit on a technique for doubling their sales by under supplying demand. Before Christmas they create a demand for an item, and then short retailers while simultaneously making a near-substitute readily available. In January, they unleash the under-supplied toy and parents everywhere rush to fulfill their pre-Holiday promises to the litte ones. Voila! Two sales instead of one.

So what do horse races and fad toys have to do with mediation? They illustrate the legitimate psychological barriers to resolution that mediators need to address, particularly in late-stage mediations -- after all the discovery, demands, accusations, drawn lines have been made.