My husband was just watching the second episode of Fairly Legal. Halfway through he says, “I get that this is TV and they need drama and writings, but it just isn’t realistic. I mean, what person would actually care enough to chase a client all around the city?”

At first, I agreed with him. What mediator would go out of her way for a case?

Then I realized: I do.

This weekend, I’m taking my Saturday to drive across the city to meet with one of my clients at a track meet so I can understand what he and his family are going through in a coaching dispute.

I’ve mediated a dispute between two landscapers at a dump.

I’ve mediated at a bonfire in Hawaii.  In a kitchen grinding cornmeal in Mexico. In my front yard when my daughter and her friends had a dispute over who got to wear the princess dress (hmm, speaking of, I don’t think I ever got paid for that case–I’ll have to send her an invoice).

I realized that I have had some very untraditional ways of resolving cases, and I can think of many even more creative resolution stories from other mediators. I began telling my husband about some of these instances. “Why?” he asked. “It’s just a job.”

But it’s not.  I could take any job.  I do this because I want to help. I would much rather do something “out of the box” if I feel that it will help. I could be a lawyer if I wanted justice. I could be a painter if I wanted to be creative. I would be a politician if I wanted power. I mediate because I love people.

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