2020 IAM Spring Conference Program


The Future of Mediation: A 2020 View From the Mountaintop

Opening Eyes to a world of new approaches, challenges, and opportunities

Dear Mediator or IAM Colleague: Welcome to the future!  Whether you are considering attending or have already registered, we hope you are as excited as we are about this look into the future of mediation.   And what better organization to do it than the International Academy of Mediators, an invitation-only group of the world’s best commercial mediators?

Mediation has been a mainstay of dispute resolution for several decades and our program won’t ignore the tried and true skills we’ve honed.  But be prepared to be challenged too as you are exposed to how mediation around the world is changing with new approaches, people, and even technology.  Through our plenary sessions and practical workshops, this is a chance to learn and share with the best our profession as to offer.  Take it in.

See you in Denver. Welcome to the Future. – Chuck Doran, IAM President · Paul Van Osselaer, Conference Chair


Sessions and times subject to change.

Wednesday, April 29

2:00 – 6:00 PM           Board of Governors Meeting 

Thursday, April 30

Spouse Guest ActivitiesDenver Foodie Tour: Pre-registration required (4-hour tour – transportation via the 16th Street Mall Shuttle) A tour guide will meet you in the Hotel Lobby for a departure at 10:00 AM. Total walking distance 4 blocks.

8:00 am – 9:15 am      Registration and Breakfast (for registrants only)

9:15 am – 9:30 am       Welcome and Introductions

9:30 am – 10:45 am     Let’s Get Evaluative…How and When Do We Do It? with Dwight Golann, IAM Scholar-in-Residence (USA)Professor of Law, Suffolk University

Good mediators constantly evaluate what is happening in our cases. We keep most of these opinions hidden—or do we? Videos of leading meditators show that they regularly convey viewpoints, often indirectly and perhaps even unconsciously. We’ll show examples and ask you to discuss: When do you provide direction to parties? On what topics, using what techniques? Do you ever “leak” a viewpoint, intentionally or not? This is a chance to reflect on what you do, and to hear from colleagues about this charged topic.

10:45 am – 11:00 am     Break

11:00 am – 12:15 pm     Workshop Sessions – Round 1

Please see the complete schedule for the workshops below. There will be 10 to choose from throughout the conference. Led by IAM Fellows, they are thought-provoking discussion groups focused on a wide range of topics to mediators across the globe. These are opportunities to learn from each other and share our experiences.

12:15 pm – 1:15 pm      Lunch (for registrants only)

Catch up with friends, meet new ones, or discuss areas of common interest.

1:15 pm – 2:45 pm     A Brave New World? Is Technology Knocking on Your Mediation Door? with Chuck Doran, IAM Distinguished Fellow (USA); Judith P. Meyer, IAM Distinguished Fellow (USA); Geoff Sharp, IAM Distinguished Fellow (New Zealand)

From Asia to Europe to North America, new tools are being developed and used successfully to help parties evaluate risk.  Artificial intelligence may at first seem like a threat to mediators – but is it? Learn how it is a tool for effective mediators who target the future and who embrace a new generation’s approach to disputes.

2:45 pm – 3:00 pm     PEPP TALK Intentional Kindness: A Path to Resolution with Rande S. Sotomayor, IAM Distinguished Fellow (USA)

Being kind is different from being “nice.” For those seeking to connect with even the most contentious people, one way to gain trust and understanding is through intentional efforts to “be kind.” 

3:00 pm – 3:15 pm     Break

3:15 pm – 4:45 pm     Why Facts May Not Matter with Jonathan Lloyd-Jones, IAM Distinguished Fellow (UK); Orit Asnin, IAM Distinguished Fellow (Israel); Fernando Navarro, IAM Mentee (Mexico)

Belief—whether religious, cultural, social or political—can dictate how parties frame the issues in a mediation, view the process, and even judge its resolution. The program will explore the role of this different side of decision-making and consider how the mediator can identify and respond to the parties, especially across different cultures and even within what may otherwise seem to be similar cultures.

4:45 pm – 5:30 pm     Free Time

5:30 pm – 6:30 pm     Cocktail Party (smart casual dress appropriate for the occasion)

7:00 pm      “Sign and Dine”

Sign-up for dinner with your colleagues and guests at one of several restaurant choices at the registration desk by 1:00 pm.

Friday, May 1

Spouse Guest Activities: Option 1: Old West to New West Walking Tour: Pre-registration required (4.5-hour tour: transportation via the 16th Street Mall Shuttle. Snacks and water provided) A tour guide will meet you in the Hotel Lobby for a departure at 9:00 AM – 1:30 PM. Total walking distance: approximately 4 miles.

Option 2: Behind the Velvet Curtain Tour: Pre-registration required – 4-hour tour. A tour guide will meet you in the Hotel Lobby. Transportation will be by the 16th Street Mall Shuttle) Departure time 9:30 AM -12:00 PM. Approximate walking distance 6 blocks.

8:00 am – 9:00 am     Breakfast (for registrants only)

Join your friends. But if you are a first-time visitor, check out the tables where you can learn about IAM’s Mentorship Program or IAM Membership.

9:00 am – 9:15 am     Announcements

9:15 am – 10:45 am     Mediation’s Ultimate Endgame with Thomas Main, Professor of Law, University of Nevada, Las Vegas (USA)

Mediation was the vanguard of change 30-40 years ago, but is it still? Professor Main will explore whether mediation may be stuck in the past given changes in the marketplace and in legal education.

10:45 am – 11:00 am     Break

11:00 am – 12:00 noon     Workshop Sessions Round 2

Please see the complete schedule for the workshops below. More workshops led by IAM Fellows and focused on a wide range of topics to mediators across the globe.

12 pm – 1:15 pm     Lunch (for registrants only)

Catch up with friends or, better yet, this time choose from topic-specific tables such as “Non-North American Focus,” “Diversity,” or other topics. [Other table topics can be suggested on-the-spot. Just tell the conference chair over breakfast, to allow announcement.]

1:15 pm – 2:30 pm     Are You Experienced? with Jeffrey Krivis, IAM Distinguished Fellow (USA); Louise Phipps Senft, IAM Distinguished Fellow (USA)

Mediation is as much an experience as it is a process. This interactive program will look at mediation through the lens of the different roles we play to give the participants a meaningful experience instead of just a series of steps to a predictable end.

2:30 – 2:45 pm      Break

2:45 pm – 4:15 pm     Workshop Sessions – Round 3

Please see the complete schedule for the workshops below. More workshops led by IAM Fellows and focused on a wide range of topics to mediators across the globe

4:15 pm – 4:30 pm      Break

4:30 pm – 5:15 pm    KEYNOTE ADDRESS: Negotiating in the Military: Why It Is Not an Oxymoron with Brig. Gen. Linell A. Letendre, Dean of the Faculty, U.S. Air Force Academy (followed by a short meet and greet)

General Letendre has been active in promoting the teaching of negotiation and mediation in the military.  She will discuss why learning negotiations skills is valuable even in the military where there is a chain of command and the primary mission is war fighting. She will discuss why negotiation training has been introduced in the military and how her experience has informed her reasons for promoting it. She then will present a case study-the complex multi-party negotiation that was facilitated by a working group at the Pentagon that lead to the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” This historic negotiation process engaged the White House, Congress, all five military services, and a diverse number of competing interest groups.

5:15 pm – 6:00 pm     Free Time

6:00 pm – 7:00 pm     Cocktail Party

7:00 pm – 10:00 pm     Dinner (smart casual dress appropriate for the occasion)

Induction of new IAM Fellows & Distinguished Fellows · Annual Business Meeting · After-dinner music by “The New Trolls” (IAM’s house band) plus anyone who wants to join and share their talents!

Saturday, May 2

8:00 am – 9:00 am     Breakfast 

Last chance to catch-up over a meal, finish topic tables and share what you’ve learned.  And to plan for seeing each other in Montreal.

9:00 am – 9:15 am     Announcements

9:15 am – 10:45 am     Ethical Dilemmas for Mediators: an Interactive Study of Real Scenarios with Michael P. Bishop, IAM Distinguished Fellow (USA); Cynthia Remmers, IAM Distinguished Fellow (USA)

This program will explore several ethical scenarios all mediators face and, through interactive audience participation, explore various solutions and approaches from our diverse audience.

10:45 am – 11:00 am     Break

11:00 am – 11:30 am     IAM UPDATES

Preview of Montreal Conference (October 15-17, 2020)• Diversity Initiative• Listserv Project• Mentorship• And more!

11:30 am – 12:00 noon     Open Mic Time!

Share your ideas to make IAM even more focused on its mission and valuable to its members.

12 noon     Conference Concludes – See you in Montreal!  October 15-17, 2020

Click here to register for the Denver Conference.


The Mediation Evolution – Skipping the Distributive Bargaining Dance Mike Young
Mediating Cases with Coverage Disputes and Insurance Paul Van Osselaer
Mediation “Wildcards”—Dealing with the Unexpected Mitch Rose
Crazy Stuff: Unusual Techniques and Wild Ideas That Sometimes Work Lee Jay Berman & Elaine Gordon
Can Lessons from Hostage Negotiations Improve the Mediation Process? Jeff Trueman
Cross-Cultural Mediations Jonathon Lloyd-Jones, Orit Asnin, & Fernando Navaro
Multi-Party Mediations – How to Herd Cats Toward a Settlement Steve Nelson
Coaching Parties in Mediation – Practical & Ethical Issues Paul Iacono & Cynthia Remmers
Creating “Fairness” and “Justice” for Parties in High Emotion Cases Jon Fidler
What? Me Worry? Current and Future Business Issues for Mediation Practice Jeff Kichaven & Molly Jo Mullen