I think of that line often. Not only when it is cold or I am thinking of my Mom, but as a subtle reminder (mom’s are so subtle) that our obligation as guardians of the judicial system is to solve problems in the most cost effective means possible. Mediation is an important tool in that toolbox. However, unlike some who see the drastic cutbacks in court funding as a boon to mediation, I believe it will have the opposite effect. For many litigants, it is only the looming shadow of the courthouse that enables them to see alternatives to the courtroom. And it cannot be a good thing to have any part of the resolution system on life support. We in the legal community need to do a much better job of explaining the importance of judicial funding to the people ofCalifornia and advocating our concerns to legislators in Sacramento.
We also need to expand the areas where mediation and its techniques are used. Anyone who pays even passing attention to our political system can see the art of the deal is lost. Also, given the difficulties and complexities of government, the explosion of financially stressed government entities and the legal requirement they submit to mediation, there is a huge need for trained mediators in government and government related issues.
No one is better at helping resolve complex issues than mediators. And given the challenges our state faces from the courtroom, to the legislature, to city hall, it is going to take a group of mediators, working together, to help address the significant challenges we face. If we focus on these issues and if we succeed, we will be making a contribution that would make every mother proud.