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70 At 70 (70th Blog Entry/Living 70th Year)

We don't receive wisdom; we must discover it for ourselves after a journey that no one can take for us or spare us.

- Marcel Proust


This marks the publishing of the 70th Dispute Resolution Blog entry. I am now living my 70th year. (Is this too clever by half?) I would like to think that for most of us, with age comes wisdom.

Dispute Resolution Background

Being the Middle Child: Many think that the middle children become the peace makers or mediators. Maybe so with me? I am the second of 4.

Mentored in High School: I was super fortunate in high school. My French teacher Betty Spriggs and counselor Ruth Watkins became my mentors, directing me to a full scholarship at Muskingum College which then became a university.

Muskingum University, New Concord, Ohio: I attended this wonderful university during the mid-1970’s. I had planned to get my doctorate and teach history. Political science professor Robert Munkres became my mentor and persuaded me to go to law school. I did.

Capital University School of Law: Having had a great college experience, I was initially disappointed by law school studies and classes. Along comes criminal law professor John Palmer. He created what most of us believe is the first criminal mediation program in the nation. The US Department of Justice (LEAA=Law Enforcement Assistance Administration which sponsored via seed monies experimental justice programs) initially funded this experiment located in the Columbus, Ohio City Prosecutor’s Office.

I became captivated by assisting people in trouble through mediation. I was astounded by the number and types of disputes. I was stunned by how much we law school student mediators could assist folks to work through their family, neighborhood, and interpersonal disputes.

Assistant City Prosecutor: I was so enamored by this process that I continued at the prosecutor’s office, overseeing criminal case intake and mediation and becoming the first director of such. Soon in the process, we realized that most so-called legal disputes have a psychological and social work component. Often, this was the dominant issue, so we created a social work initiative to the mediation/intake program.

American Bar Association: The ABA noted this new legal dispute resolution initiative and hired me to be their first DC-based director. During 15 years, we transformed the little committee into a full fledged Section of Dispute Resolution.

National Association for Community Mediation: I moved on and became the first director of NAFCM helping to create and support hundreds of community mediation programs throughout the country.

Self-Employed Mediator, Arbitrator, Facilitator, Executive Coach. My greatest professional happiness was becoming self-employed working for:

  • AMA (American Management Association)

  • FINRA (Financial Securities Mediation and Arbitration)

  • The George Washington University School of Law

  • Capital University School of Law

  • SenatusADR (Started this for-profit dispute resolution business in 2020. Lucas VandeSande is the CEO.)

So, either I have no bosses or 12 bosses. I surely have no weekly staff meetings!


Oh, the experiences I have had in assisting people with problems! I have a much better understanding of why people do what they do and say what they say when they are embroiled in conflict.

I also remember my naivete in the beginning. I especially remember one case as a law student. This case involved perpetual fighting between a husband and wife leading to many criminal charges. We finally amassed all of the charges and scheduled a mediation. One component of that settlement was my giving my personal number then next time problems arose. You know “the rest of the story.”

Why the Dispute Resolution Blog?

During the decades outlined above, my beloved business partner and friend Prudence Kestner and I wrote four dispute resolution books and wrote hundreds of articles. I use these materials in my trainings and teachings.

Current and up to date: With this blog, I wanted to keep current with the dispute resolution field. Now, I am using approximately half of these blog entries as a reading assignment for my law students.

How is it going? Feedback and advice?

I am certain that you have been a loyal blog reader. Most have enjoyed the quick reads, the pictures and the wide ranging application of dispute resolution.

  • So, how do you think the blog is going?

  • Are the entries entertaining and informative?

  • Do you enjoy the guest writers?

  • Is connecting dispute resolution to current issues a great idea? (I created two entries on persuading the unvaccinated and then one on Biden/Putin)

  • Are there any other topics I should be covering?

You can leave me comments on this blog site or send to


In the near future, I plan to create a series of podcasts that will accompany the blog. Any advice on beginning and promoting a podcast?

Thanks in advance for your thoughts and input.


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