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Reader’s Review
John Baker
790pp. New York: Aspen Publishers, 2003
Hardback Edition: (US) $ 83.00

If you have never read a graduate school text book or read enough of them to believe you would never wish to read another, this book should cause you to search it out if you have an interest in dispute resolution. Designed for law students and lawyers, it is one of the best and most thought provoking examinations of the dispute resolution field you will find anywhere.

There is no need to be a lawyer to comfortably read this work. It is relatively free of jargon and rich in information about the primary dispute resolution processes: negotiation, mediation, arbitration and various hybrid approaches.

The authors are true experts in dispute resolution. Stephen B. Goldberg is Professor of Law at Northwestern University Law School (Chicago, Illinois). He is a co-author of several books and many articles on the field as well as a member of the National Academy of Arbitrators and a Salary Arbitrator for Major League Baseball. Frank E.A. Sander is Bussey Professor of Law and Associate Dean of Harvard Law School. He is also Co-Director of Harvard University’s Dispute Resolution Program.

Nancy H. Rogers holds the Michael E. Moritz Chair and is Dean of the Moritz College of Law at The Ohio State University (Columbus, Ohio). Dean Rogers is the author of several books in the field. Sarah Rudolph Cole is Associate Professor of Law in the Moritz College of Law at The Ohio State University. Professor Cole is a widely published author and teaches in the field of Alternative Dispute Resolution

After an overview of dispute resolution, the authors quickly move to the basic processes and then examine the relationship of alternative dispute resolution to the courts. Next, they explore the application of dispute resolution processes to three distinct areas of conflict: family disputes, public disputes and international disputes. There is a brief look at the future of the ADR movement, including the prospects for individuals to make a living in its practice. The book concludes with an examination of some of the major problems in the field, followed by an Appendix providing copies of major legislative Acts that govern the field and Standards of practice for its practitioners.

Throughout the book, the authors include excerpts from the works of leading writers on each topic. For example, in the negotiation section, the reader will find carefully selected writings by authors such as Roger Fisher, William Ury, Howard Raiffa and other leading commentators in the field. In the international section, the reader learns about the nuances of negotiating and mediating public disputes by reading former President Jimmy Carter’s first-hand account of the 1978 Israeli-Egyptian peace talks at Camp David. Readers are certain to find his detailed report on his efforts to mediate the negotiations between Menachem Begin and Anwar el-Sadat over thirteen days not only fascinating, but filled with insights about the process itself. The authors skillfully weave these outside expert views throughout the book.

The negotiation section provides a solid overview of this most common form of dispute resolution. Readers will find a well-organized and diverse discussion of approaches, strategies, tactics, power relationships and ethics along with other topics. Certainly, it is well worth reading with care by any negotiator.

Mediation is defined clearly by the authors as a negotiation in which a neutral third party assists the parties in their search to reach an agreement, but the mediator has no power to impose an outcome. There is an extensive discussion of mediation techniques, empirical research findings about the process and a examination of mediation regulation and review that readers will find comprehensive and valuable.

Arbitration in which the third party has the power to impose a resolution on the parties is equally well covered by the authors. Its weaknesses as well as its best practices are examined along with a discussion of issues that fall within the purview of the court system and the ethics that govern the process.

Readers will also find valuable discussions of hybrid systems such as Med-Arb in which a single neutral party is engaged to lead the parties through mediation and then on into arbitration if it is required to reach resolution. It is a wide-ranging and perceptive review of this method as well as others in the variety of alternative processes in operation within the field.

You will discover much more in this excellent work ranging from an analysis of key principles for the design of effective dispute resolution systems through examinations of three of its special areas of concentration to an insightful discussion of the future of Alternative Dispute Resolution. It is a truly comprehensive work.

The book is well indexed, carefully documented and includes a useful Appendix as well as an extensive bibliography that any reader will find invaluable. Certainly, a most valuable book for the organization executive, the ADR practitioner, the attorney and any other person who seeks to understand the field of dispute resolution.

Highly recommended.

John D. Baker, Ph.D.

As a service to our readers, you may order this month’s Review’s Review selection by clicking on the appropriate link below:

Dispute Resolution: Negotiation Mediation, and Other Processes [Amazon.com]

Dispute Resolution: Negotiation Mediation, and Other Processes [Amazon.co.uk]

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