Early Resolution: Understanding Disputes, Preparing for Tough Talks & Negotiating Solutions

Cross-posted from

Conflict is all around us. From time to time, everyone gets into a dispute with someone else. It might be with a neighbor, a work colleague, a property manager, or a service provider. One thing is for sure, we all face conflict in our lives.

For some of us, it is important to win a dispute at all costs, and we risk damaging important relationships. Others avoid conflict altogether. But unresolved conflict tends to grow, and what may have started as a small problem can become a huge crisis.

Although they are based in Canada, the Justice Education Society, a public-oriented organization that is developing new tech tools & new user-oriented approaches on delivering legal services, has some great tips for taking on disputes before they get out of hand.

Some highlights from their site:

Understanding Disputes

When we find ourselves involved in a dispute, it can sometimes take us by surprise. We may not see ourselves as people who get into conflicts at all. We are familiar with some amount of conflict in our everyday lives, but we are not always sure what to do when it starts getting bigger. This lack of awareness makes it difficult to avoid disputes and to decrease conflict once it has started. Our stress increases and our unhelpful behaviors start to come out and make things worse. Before we know it, we’re in a conflict loop. More here…

Preparing for a Tough Talk

Sometimes to settle a dispute our first and best option is to have a conversation with the other person even when we know it is going to be tough. Perhaps we have had a conflict with our boss but nothing has been resolved. Maybe our cellphone provider is overcharging what it promised. Or maybe the property manager of our apartment building isn’t making the repairs he agreed to. Whatever the issue, it is usually a good idea to negotiate face to face to settle a dispute. The key to having a successful conversation, though, is to be well prepared. More here…

Negotiating a Solution

Negotiating a solution to your dispute is the last step in a process that started with Choosing a Dispute Resolution Option, and learning more about how our behaviors contribute to conflict in Understanding Disputes. The next step was Preparing for a Tough Talk with the other person in your dispute. You are now ready to put into practice everything that you’ve learned so far. More here…

We here at Lawtender understand how inefficient and unpredictable the court system has become and we are very much in favor of alternative dispute resolution.

Therefore, access to justice will certainly involve greater use of ADR.


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