Our series My Favorite Resource, features interviews with ADR friends across the country to learn about their favorite resources. This month, I spoke with Howard Herman, Director of the ADR Program for the U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, to learn about his favorite ADR resource.
NW: What is one of your favorite ADR resources?
HH: One of my favorite resources is the book Bringing Peace Into the Room, edited by Daniel Bowling and David Hoffman.
NW: Why do you value this particular resource?
HH: The book is particularly valuable because it consists of a series of short, approachable essays concerning the qualities that make a truly effective mediator. The book links theory to practice in a direct, easily understandable way. Rather than prescriptions about what all mediators should do, the book provides a set of examples of practitioners authentically developing their own approaches grounded in their awareness of personal strengths and weaknesses. I was particularly moved by the essay “Tears” by David Hoffman, which helped me change my approach to the emotions I feel when I’m mediating.
NW: How did you first learn about this resource?
HH: I first became aware of this book right when it came out – back in 2003 – but it remains every bit as relevant today.
NW: For those unfamiliar with this resource, what is one part of this resource that you wouldn’t want someone to miss?
HH: A particular feature, not to be missed, is the inclusion of stimulating and challenging reflective practice questions at the conclusion of each essay. For the past 15+ years, I’ve led reflective practice groups for the mediators on the panel of the Northern District of California. The questions raised by Bringing Peace Into the Room continue to guide many of the discussions we have each month as mediators examine their cases in an effort to improve their practices.