Holbrook Serves as Keynote at ADR Academy

On October 9, Jim Holbrook, a Clinical Professor of Law at the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law, provided the keynote address and also taught a session at the Eighth Annual ADR Academy sponsored by the Utah State Bar’s Alternative Dispute Resolution section.

In his keynote, titled “The Heart of Mediation: Lessons Learned Working Toward Peace in Iraq,” Holbrook provided wide-ranging comments and observations on his experiences. “Remember your story arc,” Holbrook advised. “[Draw on] where you have come from and what you have learned as a human being, your own training and your conflict.” A Vietnam War veteran, Holbrook described his own “40-year arc,” including his efforts to come to peace with his combat experiences.  He also credited an eclectic group of teachers and mentors who had inspired his work. 

Quoting the Buddhist saying “When the student is ready, the teacher appears,” Holbrook cited various influential figures from whom he said he learned valuable life lessons, including Judge Bruce Jenkins; Leonard Hawes, a professor in the U’s communication department; Bev Klungervik; Leilani Marshall; Izzi Wagner; Bill Bohling; Diane Hamilton; and Lynette Averill.

During his 90-minute presentation, Holbrook repeatedly emphasized the importance of learning to listen, whether in a formal mediation or an informal negotiation with a spouse; and the role communication plays in resolving conflicts: “Have an open, empty beginner’s mind so you can hear,” Holbrook counseled.

In his second panel, “Drafting an Arbitration Award,” Holbrook provided the audience with a fact pattern and asked that they write an award and discuss their reasoning for that outcome.  During the audience discussion, he stressed the difference between arbitration and mediation, noting that in mediation legal issues take a back seat to a “fair” resolution and that, by contrast, in arbitration, legal issues take precedence.