The Final Four (mediation style); a Banquet and Bono

The International Academy of Dispute Reasolution’s 10th International Law School Competition concluded yesterday. The rounds happened Friday and Saturday with 34 teams coming to London from 23 schools, 8 countries and 4 continents! After three rounds the tabulation room began to work, while students, coaches and judges enjoyed lunch. There was, naturally, tension amongst the teams as they anxiously awaited word of who made it to the finals. The entire group would be slashed to the top 4 mediator teams and top 4 client/advocacy teams who would enter the final round. INADR’s own Fred Lane atempted to distract the students with his talents as a magician. The audience appreciated his mastery of magic and his humor.

Shortly thereafter, the four of us ( Judge Allan Goldberg, Retired Judge Ben Mackoff, Retired Judge Stephen Walter and myself) who were asked to judge the Finals were asked to leave the room so that we wouild not know which teams were to appear in our rooms.

The Final teams were as difficult to judge as one could imagine. The teams were flawless in all respects. The stress upon the judges, pales compared to that of the participants and their coaches, it was still present. Someone must “win,” but in the end we know they are all winners in the larger picture.

We completed and checked our ballots, turned them in and ran off to our respective hotels to change for the Awards banquet. While no one ( save one) knew the results, the cocktail hour eased tensions. As dinner began, the teams and individuals were duly honored and recognized.

I will not attempt here to completely recount the awards, but only mention memories that struck me from the evening.

— The outstanding success of a team from The Institute of Professional Legal Studies, in Belfast, Northern Ireland in its first year of participation, whose energy and emotion carried the night.

— The superb results in all categories from the Murdoch University School of Law, Perth, Australia.

— The great results turned in by teams from Loyola/Chicago; UC Hastings; Tulane; Norhteastern; Chapman and South Texas Law Schools.

— The great conversations over dinner with the Loras College undergraduate team.

As the awards ceremony concluded, the DJ appeared and the awards ceremony truned into an international collaboration and celebration to the tunes of JayZ; Cee-Lo Green; U-2; and a host of others.

I left as the Irish, Americans, Aussies, Brits and Germans were all dancing and singing along to everone’s international favorite — Bono. This was truly inspirational for me as I and friends and colleagues begin to explore a project that uses music in conflict transformation with young adults in high conflict areas around the world.
It was truly an honor to be part of this group dedicated to fostering an atmosphere of dispute resolution that is commtited to creating peaceful problem-solving discussions in an environment that encourages collaboration and cooperation.

“Music can change the world because it can change people.” – Bono

Official Tournament results can be obtained next week on INADR ‘s website ( .

Paddington, coffee and the opening of a mediation tournament in London

After an afternoon exploring Paddington, I anxiously awaited meeting Clare Rodway, LLB – (@ClareRodway) the Managing Director of KYSEN PR, which Kysen PR provides tailored PR and marketing expertise to legal, accountancy and other professional services organisations. ( Clare and I had missed each other at #Lex2011Tweetup, which has been the subject of a prior post, so we met for coffee. We had a wonderful chat about our mutual interests as well as the distinctions between law firm PR, marketing and operations in the US v. UK, and the implications of the Legal Services Act in the UK.

From there I found a taxi and was off to the begining of the activities for what really brought me to London.

I walked into a lower level of BPP Law in London a little past 6 to attend the Opening Reception for The International Academly of Dispute Resolution’s 10th Annual International Law School Mediation Tournament. ( I was pleased to find over a hundred students, faculty, coaches, administration and support staff joining the handful of INADR folks from the Chicago area who came to London for the first time the tournament has been held in London. The buzz in the room was amazing. Our colleagues here had set up the event to create collegiality amongst everyone. While we call it a “tournament” – it really is a collaboration – students from around the world coming together to meet, learn, and share a common interest in helping people manage conflict and solve disputes.

It became clear that with 34 teams here, we would need additiobnal judges, so I put the word out to the London legal/mediation community from the reception via direct emails form the reception and later via twitter. The London community as one would expect responded to the call immediately, contacting colleagues, their chambers and recommending organizations to contact.

Thanks to all who have helped and who continue to do so.

#Lex2011Tweetup – A twegal experience in London – Thank-you

For some time I knew that I was going to be in London in late March doing some work with The International Academy of Dispute Resolution. ( When I put out a call on twitter seeking volunteer judges @SobukiRa, @clarinette02 and @AmandaBucklow were the first to respond. I was, of course, extremely grateful. Then something happened that was completely unexpected — Scottish lawyer @BrianInkster tweeted that he was going to speak at Lex 2011 ( on his law firm, Inksters’, experience of using Twitter. More interestingly, Brian tweeted, that Lex2011Tweetup, was going to occur on the evening after the first day of Lex 2011. Brian asked if I was going to be in London on the 16th, and could I make it. I said I had not planned on it, but would look in to the possibility. A couple of weeks passed, then there was a follow up tweet, and some gentle nudging by some others – @IkenCEO , @legaleagleMHM, @clarinette02 and I am sure a few more, that I have forgotten.

So, always having been one to respond to a nudge, off I went. I decided to attend Brian’s lecture, which required Brian to obtain an invite to Lex 2011, an invitation only event. I arrived at Heathrow at about 8:00 that morning and made it to the hotel in time for a shower and change of clothes. At a break, I found Brian chatting with @SteveKuncewicz. While Brian and I have shared many tweets, it was our first conversation. He gave a stellar presentation that provided loads of useful information on engaging vs broadcasting on Twitter, the effective use of multiple law firm Twitter accounts to broadcast firm specialties and blogs. It was an incredible learning experience

I left for a nap, and told Brian I would see him later at #Lex2011Tweetup. I was in the lobby of the hotel shortly before it was to start and saw a tweet from @HeatherTowns advising that #Lex2011Tweetup, as she and @BrianInkster were there. So I walked the block to the bar, and things were off and running.

Soon enough I was meeting, amongst others, @HeatherTowns @Azrights, @clarinette02, @London_Law_Firm, @IkenCEO, @DavidAllenGreen, @dylanwhite, @LindaCheungUK, @andrewneligan, and @TheNakedLawyer. I know there many more, and my apologies to those I have left out.

The tweetup was a collection of lawyers, some students and trainees, and law-related professionals. The atmosphere was one of genuine interest in each other, and a collegiality that was remarkable. We all had time to share a legal thought or two, and many laughs as well.

I have to say that it was a thoroughly enjoyable evening. I certainly am not part of, nor pretend to be part of the London legal community — but that night I felt about as welcome as I do in my own home.

Special thanks to all who made it so!