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Mediate BC has taken the bold step of proclaiming Oct 11 – 18, 2014 as Conflict Resolution Week in British Columbia.

During Conflict Resolution Week Mediate BC will be supporting its Roster mediators who are involved in various activities and events to raise public awareness of effective, timely and affordable problem-solving approaches. Check out Mediate BC’s website for examples of the activities to date. We will also be announcing the results of our 2014 Mediator Survey.

While Mediate BC’s focus is primarily mediation and other consensual dispute resolution approaches, Conflict Resolution Week encompasses a much broader spectrum of people striving to assist others to resolve their conflicts in a healthy, effective, timely and affordable way.

The key role of lawyers as problem-solvers is well established (Prof. Julie Macfarlane’s book “The New Lawyer”; the final report of the National Action Committee; the final report of the BC Family Justice Summit report, to name a few).

The recent CBA Legal Futures Report confirms that “clients want services to be quicker, cheaper, and smarter. They want more transparency and involvement, and they want to be and stay connected.” The report lists client expectations including:

  • Clients expect legal services to be delivered like all other services. They expect to obtain legal services in ways that are familiar to them, user-friendly, and quick.
  • Clients are asking for:

    • lower costs and cost certainty (value and predictability);
    • clearer information about the process and the use of familiar technology and processes (clarity, transparency and familiarity);
    • results (competence and experience);
    • involvement (participation in the process); and
    • respect (a mutual partnership rather than an authoritarian approach).
  • Clients are also looking for more discrete legal tasks and services (“disaggregation”), as well as speed, convenience, and availability.
  • Clients are also still looking for non-legal support as they go through the uncertainty, emotions, and complexities of a legal process. They want access, empathy, and personal contact with lawyers who can demonstrate a holistic understanding of the client’s circumstances and needs.

Many of these expectations can be met through mediation instead of, or as part of, a litigation process. This is not an either/or strategy; lawyers can work with mediators to ensure their clients’ needs and expectations are met.

We invite you to consider how you might join us in highlighting the many ways that you assist clients in legal problem-solving. This is a great opportunity to raise awareness about the valuable work that you do!

Happy Conflict Resolution Week!

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