In 15 years as a civil litigation lawyer, I have learned a lot about conflict. I have seen the inside of more disputes than I can count. Whether the parties were business partners, contractors and suppliers, parents and children, siblings, employers and employees, lenders and borrowers, they all felt hurt, stressed and drained by the litigation process. The disputes I dealt with in my law practice were almost always about people and relationships. While there was almost always money in the mix as well, the real crux of the dispute had to do with people’s feelings about something that had happened.
Maybe it was a long term business, family or workplace relationship. Or maybe what you might think of as more of a commercial relationship involving lenders and borrowers or contractors or suppliers. But still, what was really behind the dispute was that something had gone wrong and people didn’t have a way to talk about it effectively or a process to help them to resolve it.
When the problem could not be resolved, the people did what people do – and called a lawyer. And the lawyer did what lawyers do, which is to use the legal process that we have in Canada. Our legal system is designed as an adversarial process in which each side presents its strongest case and a neutral third party makes a decision about who is right. The problem with that system is that most people would prefer a speedy resolution based on a decent amount of good information. Most people don’t need to get to the bottom of exactly what can be proven with evidence on balance of probabilities in order to solve their problem.
Most people want to be able to explain their side of the problem, feel listened to, get a better understanding of what happened and have some help in sorting out a solution. Most people want to negotiate a solution they can live with and feel that there was a fair enough outcome so they can move on with their lives. As a lawyer I had a resolution focus and did my best to work with opposing counsel to craft resolutions that worked for everyone.
Sometimes a Court process is needed – and we are fortunate to have a strong judicial system in Canada. But a lot of the time, especially when the dispute is one between people or businesses, a different conflict resolution process is needed.
After 15 years on one side or the other of those disputes, I am focussing my efforts exclusively as the neutral person who helps people have the conversations they need to have in a process that is designed for their needs to help them solve their problems and move forward. I am passionate about conflict resolution and I am pleased as punch to introduce Knapp Resolutions.
Think a mediator might be able to help your situation? Contact Knapp Resolutions to learn more.