Posted in Communication, Lawyering, Mediation

Bush: Transformative Mediation & Client-Centered Lawyering

In a recent article, “Mediation skills and client-centered lawyering: A new view of the partnership,” Professor Baruch Bush argues that the communication skills that support client interaction in transformative mediation are valuable for the practice of client-centered lawyering.

Professor Bush lays the foundation for his argument by reviewing the theory of transformative mediation, which focuses on supporting shifts in the quality of participant interaction along the dimensions of empowerment and recognition, and the specific interactional skills that mediators employ in order to support these shifts. He then argues that the goals, principles, and practices of transformative mediation are congruent with those of client-centered lawyering (a practice that is contrasted with lawyer-centered lawyering). He illustrates how the communicative skills employed by transformative mediators are useful in many aspects of the lawyering process, including interviewing the client, gathering evidence from witnesses and parties, developing the legal theory of the case, conducting settlement discussions, and pre-trial and trial advocacy. Professor Bush closes with advice on how to incorporate transformative mediation theory and practice into a client-centered lawyering course, based on his own experiences.

This article offers valuable insights for lawyers and law professors, of course. It is also of value for those interested in transformative mediation, both for the excellent review of the theory and practice of the model, and for the example of how to translate that theory and practice to the needs of other settings.

Bush, R. A. B. (2013). Mediation skills and client-centered lawyering: A new view of the partnership. Clinical Law Review, 19(Spring), 429-488.