Mediation Practice Guide: A Handbook for Resolving Business Disputes (Second Edition)

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Mediation Practice Guide: A Handbook for Resolving Business Disputes (Second Edition) By Bennett G. Picker Published by the American Bar Association Section of Dispute Resolution; $39.00; ISBN: 1-59031-169-8, 222 pp.; paperback.

Almost every business will at some point have a dispute with a vendor, customer, or employee. Generally, the options for resolving such a dispute are an adjudication by a third party resulting in either a complete victory or a complete loss, or a settlement in which both parties are satisfied with the result.

People who choose the latter option would benefit from reading the revised and expanded edition of the Mediation Practice Guide by Bennett G. Picker. The new edition enlarges the sections contained in the 1998 edition on preparing for and conducting mediation by providing tips for both parties and counsel. It also adds two new appendices that cover an outline for a negotiation plan that may be used in most types of disputes, and a table of useful Internet resources for dispute resolution.

The book more than lives up to its subtitle, "A Handbook for Resolving Business Disputes." The author made the book user-friendly by keeping it simple and providing checklists whenever possible. he covers the key mediation issues of suitability, preparation, and advocacy.

Picker brings the benefit of a complete background in all phases of mediation to his writing. In addition to being a senior partner of the Philadelphia law firm Stradley Ronon Stevens & Young, LLP, where he is chairman of its ADR Practice Group, he serves on many U.S. and international neutral panels, including the American Arbitration Association, the CPR Institute for Dispute Resolution, and the World Intellectual Property Organization.

The use of mediation is growing for many reasons; as a legal analyst quoted in the book says: "Every case is a matter of 'principle' until the client receives the third or fourth bill from his counsel at which time they spell the word differently ('principal')."

The book points out that the alternative to a negotiated settlement is less rosy than the parties and their attorneys may have thought before the mediation started. It is the rare attorney who will predict a complete victory, and the cost for going through discovery, depositions, and trial, and possible appeals, usually seems much higher to the client than they had anticipated. …