Your Association is facing a MAJOR crisis and we need your help!

Did we get your attention or is this another “Ho-hum” minute?

Having served as your President for almost two years, a position I have sincerely enjoyed and hope that all of you re-elect me to for 2020, I have to desperately ask for your help to “STEP UP” and help me in promotion of the Vision all of us have for the Mediation Community and the valuable services we provide in New Mexico.

“Why should I do this”? you may ask:

  1.  We face mounting pressure from the legal community Leadership who feel “Professional Non-Attorney” mediators have no place, no value and serve no purpose other than to provide “pro-bono” services.
  2. We have a State government that asks Professional Mediators to provide services “out of the spirit of kindness” for free in Magistrate and Risk Management programs around the state.
  3. We have a District Court system that only offers Mediation opportunities to lawyers because they only trust lawyers to provide “facilitated directive settlement agreements” which may or may not be conducted in the true spirit of “Mediated Settlement Agreements”.
  4. The State AOC “magically” found monies to work with the Non-government provider that offers legal electronic report formats to the court system to develop “MODRIA” an online Mediation system that was intended to be launched in rural “underserved” portions of the state.  The program, in its infancy, was designed to serve as a facilitation tool for debt and money due cases and will now be modified to include Traffic violations in Magistrate court due to low participation and a low number of successful case resolutions in an attempt to improve participation for the money invested.
  5. We continue to train state employees to serve as mediators within state government (at no cost to the employees), offer training for Non-state Employee Mediators (for a fee) around the state and then what happens?  No place to practice, participate or develop skill sets because of limited opportunity due to lack of court willingness to participate in Mediation or point number 3 above. Yet, we know the court system is taxed to hear all the cases in a timely, expedient manner.
  6. We have Professional, Non-Attorney Mediators who are capable, competent and willing to serve the needs of the state Court system.
  7. We have Professional, Trained, Passionate and Dedicated Mediators who specialize in areas where their background, education or passion has led them to focus, provide valuable assistance in non-adversarial solutions for affordable costs to the general population of New Mexico and other areas in this nation.
  8. We have an Association who wants to meet the needs of our existing and future clients and knows that your training, experience, and exposure to opportunities is the best solution for the State.

How did this come to pass?  An easy explanation from my point of view: 

We as the Mediation community of New Mexico took our eyes off the Purpose, Intent, Goals, Aim, Focus, Desire or whatever words you may choose to use for the Value, Intent, and Purpose of Mediation Services in New Mexico.  It is me and each of us as members of the Mediation Community who have allowed this to happen. 

I sometimes wonder why members/officers of the past are long gone from the association; in many cases, they do not even pay dues.  Did they see the future and say, “I’m out of here”! or did they choose to say “I’ve done my time” or maybe it was a clash with existing goals, directions or opportunities to advance their agenda? Could it have been warring egos?  Maybe they lived outside of the major metro areas and did not feel they could logistically participate.  Maybe it was expectations not met by the Association leadership or better yet; needs not addressed, listened to or acted up – so “I gave up” became their alibi?  Maybe “I just pay my dues, so that I can show my clients or employer I belong but am not really active”?

We currently have a board that is trying hard, staying focused and trying to get to the root cause of what we need, provide what the members want, but we need your help. Support us by offering to serve on the Board, as an Officer, a Committee Member or Regional Representative to the Board. Speak up, let us hear and see you and provide the value and benefit you seek from Alternative Dispute Resolutions in the State of New Mexico!


We hope to see you at the Annual Meeting.

Letter from the NMMA President

Greetings and Happy New Year!!

“I suggest that the rumors of the death of mediation and the significant role of the traditional process mediator are greatly exaggerated” …………

This quote from an article I recently read written by Greg Rooney, an Australian, for Mediate Dot Com has me really thinking of this whole “Professional, Certified Non-Attorney Mediator vs. Lawyer” discussion of Mediation.

According to Mr. Rooney, we now live in a time where a world of connectivity and fluidity has replaced the 20th century Newtonian concepts that are linear, predictable and deterministic. We live in a world driven by the rise of the World Wide Web. We now have transparent and open data networks that are available free of charge to anyone with an Internet connection.

The biggest upheaval, according to Mr. Rooney has been the rise in the commercial value of trust over that of competitive and adversarial behaviors. The “sharing” economy relies on the willingness of users to be trustworthy and to trust each other. It is therefore essential that any conflict be dealt with in a way that preserves those trusting relationships while allowing new learnings which are an essential springboard for innovation and evolutionary breakthroughs.

We therefore require a new world order of thinking and operating in how we solve conflict. Mediators go off into the world and engage with parties at a very human level much the same as it was done in the 1980’s. They work with the uncertainties of conflict and hopefully come up with a “good enough” resolution. Rooney states, “These soft skills are now in high demand in the commercial world”.

It has left the legal profession with an identity crisis as they try to fit into this new reality. Since the 80’s the legal profession has moved from being a trusted profession based on the application of scale costs, which moderated the professions financial self-interest, to a commercial business model built on time costing to maximize dollar return through promoting (litigation finance) and extending disputes by means of adversarial culture according to Mr. Rooney. The problem, according to Mr. Rooney, is not so much the high legal fees, it is the pursuit of an adversarial approach to drive those extra fees. This keeps the clients stuck in their “conflict zone” far longer than is commercially acceptable or necessary. This has turned out to be a huge self-inflicted wound.

In response to the challenge presented by this new world order of collaboration, the legal profession has sought to rebrand itself to try and recover commercial relevance. The legal profession has sought to rebadge itself by dumping the designation “litigators” and replacing it with “Dispute Resolvers” now with lofty ideals according to Mr. Rooney. Mr. Rooney found it ironic that the long-term criticism of traditional mediation by the legal profession has been that it is to “touch-feely” and into “healing, wholeness, harmony and optimal human functioning” the very thing this the legal profession is trying to champion “Dispute Resolvers” as.

I am not sure the commercial world is buying this makeover, particularly when it is built on an adversarial solution focused culture and training that is not in harmony with modern economic drivers. I read where during the recent Global Pound Conference it was recommended that “It will be necessary to use research to ensure that if evaluative mediation becomes the norm approach, as well it should, that quality-control and ethical frameworks exist to prevent rogue Attorney mediators from making de facto determinations.”

Mr. Rooney suggests that the traditional non-evaluative “process” approach to mediation is far more in tune with the modern collaborative economy. It is an experiential approach which gives the parties time and space to step back and allow patterns to emerge. The mediators use their senses and respond to those patterns. This creates the potential for new opportunities to emerge out of the interaction that can lead to innovation and creativity. It can help repair disrupted trust which is the central foundation of the modern economy and world order. It is mediating for the emergence of the new rather than providing an “evaluation” of the parties’ respective positions in order to find an upper hand and close the gap for litigation finance.

Tomorrow we will all go off and continue the traditional process where we will try to remain present in the moment to observe the dynamics of human interaction between the parties. We will probe first and then sense and respond to the reaction and we will try to suspend attachment to memories, desires and the need to understand what is happening and will try and not be deterred by blockages and impasses. We will allow our intuition to guide us through the session rather than let the mechanical side of our brain be our master.

Mr. Rooney closes his article by suggesting to the legal community in general and the “dispute resolvers” that the answer to restoring the “value” for the legal product in the new economy is not to push aside or try to diminish the traditional mediation movement but to embrace it and welcome it as a path to acquire the necessary “soft skills” to constructively engage with the fluidity, ambiguity and complexity of the new age not necessarily taught or coached in law school.

Yes, it is true ….. The rumors of the death of mediation and the significant role of the traditional process mediator aka Professional, Certified Non-Attorney Mediators are GREATLY exaggerated!!!!

Until the next time …………..Ted Ramirez, NMMA President

Letter from the NMMA President

It is my honor and privilege to serve as the Association President for 2018. I appreciate the opportunity to “make a difference” in New Mexico Mediation Associations future.

We are an Association of Volunteers that belongs to a growing, vibrant process that has existed since the early days of civilization. As I look at the Association Mission: The New Mexico Mediation Association was created to promote the concept of mediation as a method of resolving disputes, educate the general public regarding the benefits of mediation and to provide a network of information exchange for the mediation community in the State of New Mexico.” I envision an Association that is active, committed and successful in achieving what the founders set out to do.

I want to promote a Statewide Association with active membership representing and participating no matter where in this wonderful state we call home. I envision an Association that gives current members a purpose to belong, past members a reason to recommit to membership and new mediators the reasons to want to belong because we have benefits that meet and encourage members to want to belong and participate. WE must meet the needs of our membership!!

We have a committed, dedicated and focused board that has taken on the tasks of growing membership, creating education opportunities of membership that meets their needs, working with decision makers in government bodies to expand understanding, to improve communication both inside and outside the organization by developing regional communication contact points and improving the website and building content driven materials that serve the purpose of meeting our Mission above.

I hope you will actively join us in this exciting time of challenge and opportunity.

““We all need to believe in what we are doing.” Alan D. Gilmor

Until next time ……… Ted Ramirez, NMMA President