Q&A with Stephen Walker

Bloomsbury Professional catch up with mediator and author, Stephen Walker.

1- What interests you about mediation?

  • Being part of the process of getting deals done so that people can resolve their disputes and get on with their lives.
  • Seeing how people take decisions in circumstances of stress and how they re -think what they really want.
  • Seeing how different people see the same facts so differently. And exploring with them why this is so.

2- What question do you get asked most in your profession?

  • By mediators- how can I get more work?
  • By clients- what do you think we should do?

3- What’s the most important thing to know about mediation?

  • Mediation is assisted negotiation. Not all negotiations are mediations, but all mediations are negotiations.
  • You go there to make peace not war. You get deals done not by arguing about the law and the facts but by discussing proposals.
  • At mediations you are looking for the common ground not the battle ground.

4- What’s the most difficult position you’ve found yourself in as a mediator?

  • On one occasion A party asked to see me without his lawyers. He told me that he thought that they had been negligent and was taking over the negotiations and would sue them later. He asked me what I thought.
    I thought that they had been negligent, but I did not tell him that.
  • On another occasion the client wanted to accept the other side's offer but his solicitor said that it was his professional duty to stop him doing that. He promised his client that he could get more money for him at trail and gave his assurance that he would fight with everything that he had to get it.
    The client asked me what I thought. So I told him and his solicitor.

Stephen Walker is the author of: FAQs for Mediators; Setting up in Business as a Mediator; Mediation Advocacy: Representing Clients in Mediation; and Mediation: An A-Z Guide

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