Spencer M. Punnett II
I’m a Florida-based mediator, author of a highly-rated book about mediation practice, and a speaker on mediation topics, whose first experience with mediation came as a litigator circa 1992. Bilingual in Spanish and married into a Hispanic family, I enjoy conducting mediations with people of diverse cultural and economic backgrounds — equally comfortable with a business executive or bus driver, orthopedic surgeon or grocery clerk.
My book, Representing Clients in Mediation: A Guide to Optimal Results, was published by the American Bar Association. It has been praised as “the current standard reference that all must have” (Hon. David B. Torrey, in Lex and Verum) . . . “a must-read for litigants engaged in mediation” (Kelso L. Anderson, in Litigation News) . . . and “the best approximation of reality of good civil mediation practice in the United States these days" (Prof. John Lande, former Director, LL.M. Program in Dispute Resolution, University of Missouri School of Law).
I've been active in the American Bar Association for many years, where my leadership appointments have included:
Years ago I was a shareholder at a law firm whose principles and heritage I admired (Carlton Fields, P.A.), which today is an AmLaw 200 firm with six offices in Florida plus Los Angeles, Atlanta, Hartford, New York, and Washington, DC. My Juris Doctor degree (cum laude) is from Northwestern University School of Law, where I was an editor on the Law Review and won the Lowden-Wigmore Prize for Legal Scholarship.
I was raised in the Chicago area but also have Florida family roots dating back to the 1920s. I'm probably one of the few mediators in this country with a mobility handicap; you’ll see me on crutches or a red mobility scooter.
Six thoughts about the mediator's role
by Spencer M. Punnett II
"The best mediators don’t have a single 'style.' They are flexible and adaptive, sizing up a situation and doing whatever works best for the particular dispute in front of them. One of my ABA colleagues, mediator John Bickerman (Washington, D.C.) — who is a master at synthesizing strategies to fit the case at hand — calls it 'analytical' mediation."
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"Let’s face it: Most mediations are not about ‘win-win’ — they’re about the size of the settlement check. But even in those cases, there can be room for creativity."
. . .
"As J. Anderson ("Andy") Little likes to say, offers and counteroffers are more than a series of numbers; they’re a form of communication. Mediators can keep negotiations on track by helping each side use numbers that convey the messages they intend. Andy — a pioneering mediator based in Chapel Hill, NC — offers great insights on that topic in his book, Making Money Talk."
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"Mediation is sometimes compared to a maze, where many paths end in impasse. Part of a mediator’s job is to help the negotiating parties avoid dead ends and find a successful way out."
. . .
“A former general counsel I know, John DeGroote, used to tell his company’s execs: ‘Mediation is a dance, and the dance has to play out. The day will look inefficient, but if you resolve the matter by killing one day, that’s a whole lot better than over the next four years.’”
. . .
“Even when both sides are large companies, a dispute can be surprisingly personal. At times, the mediator’s most important role is simply to control the emotional temperature of the room.”
Recent Appearances in Programs
for Mediators or Mediation Advocates
Mediation FAQ: Five Top Questions Answered
MEAC Opinions, Rules, Opening Statements
Using Brain Science for Better Mediations
Is Your ADR Safe? Reducing the Risk of Violence Before, During and After ADR Sessions
Representing Clients in Mediation:
A Master Class in Mediation Advocacy