I thought the Olympic parade that passed through Fleet street (where the CEDR offices are located) would be the highlight of my week. As I looked down from our windows I was especially impressed by the fact that none of the athletes seemed to have forgotten their bright red shoes. You would think that with the vast number of people on those floats, at least one of them would have had a stressful morning in which they could not find the right outfit… Then again I already suspected Olympic athletes to be super humans.
As impressive as the parade was though, as soon as it was over it was business as usual (which I’m told is commonly referred to as b.a.u. among fancy office people) at CEDR. Since this is already my second week you can imagine my responsibilities are much greater that last week. I have mastered the art of excel spread sheets and am now on to scanning, archiving and drafting letters. Nothing too glamorous I’m afraid but to be honest I enjoy beginning to understand how the process really works. I suppose any profession has its secret tricks of the trade and ADR is of course no different. Yet my interest in the field of alternative dispute resolution allows me to scan, archive and draft with without the urge to look at the clock every two minutes.
Aside from my utterly important scanning jobs, Gregg Hunt has allowed me to come along to a few of his meetings on consumer schemes and the recently launched scheme ‘Arbitration 125’ which allows smaller disputer (up till £125,000) to quickly and quite cheaply obtain a binding arbitration award.
Wednesday evening was back-t0-school night with CEDR’s Exchange forum ‘Mediating in Difficult Times and Places’. Four speakers from community mediation organisations, mostly based in London, described their organisations and what they do and how they got there. I was quite surprised by the amount of different organisations in London alone and impressed with the different type of projects they do. The audience, about 20-30 commercial mediators, was taught about the difficulties, differences but most of all the value of community mediation. Community mediation is an umbrella term that involves everything from restorative justice, victim-offender mediation, neighbour(hood) disputes to family conflict. They are disputes effecting people’s everyday life on a very personal basis but without the impressive value in dispute that characterizes most commercial cases. The mediators attending the forum were invited to brainstorm about what the community mediation organisations could offer them (mostly experience and practice) and what the mediators could offer the organisations in return (mostly their time). I think the speakers were able to inspire quite a few of the mediators with their stories and I would not be surprised if the organisations recruited a couple more volunteers for their projects.