Gary J. Friedman
Mediation Law Offices
Gary Friedman has been practicing law as a mediator with Mediation Law Offices in Mill Valley, California, since 1976, integrating principles of mediation into the practice of law and the resolution of legal disputes. He has been teaching mediation since 1980 through The Center for Understanding in Conflict (formerly The Center for Mediation in Law), the non-profit organization he co-founded. Prior to his work as a mediator, he practiced law as a trial lawyer with Friedman and Friedman in Bridgeport, Connecticut. After several years as an advocate, he sought a new approach to resolving disputes through increasing the participation of the parties in the resolution of their differences. At that time, he and his colleague, Jack Himmelstein, began to develop a model of mediation—the Understanding Based Model—that is now practiced extensively in the United States and Europe.
As one of the first lawyer mediators and a primary force in the current mediation movement, he has used this model to complete over two thousand mediations in the last four decades, including numerous two- party and multi-party disputes in the commercial and non-profit realms, in the area of intellectual property, real estate, corporate, personnel, partnership formations and dissolutions, and family law. Examples include contractual disputes concerning the supply of power and co-ownership of generation facilities between large public utilities; a dispute with a hospital resulting in a restructuring of the relationship between medical and administrative personnel; an environmental dispute over the use of a nature preserve; a dispute within a major symphony orchestra; a dissolution of a major law firm; an intellectual property dispute between a publisher and author of a series of highly successful books; and a conflict within a religious organization between the head and the residential community. Through the Center for Understanding in Conflict, he has trained lawyers, law professors and judges in the Center’s method of mediation and a mediative approach to lawyering and collaborative practice. Since l989, he has been training lawyers, judges and psychotherapists in the United States, Europe, and Israel. He has taught courses in negotiation and mediation at Stanford University Law School and the New College of Law and has lectured frequently at numerous other law schools and has taught at Harvard Law School’s Program on Negotiation and at the World Intellectual Property Organization in Geneva.
He has written extensively about mediation and conflict resolution and is the author of A Guide to Divorce Mediation (Workman Publishing, l993). In collaboration with the Harvard Law School’s Program on Negotiation, he is featured as the mediator in an educational video, Saving the Last Dance: Mediation Through Understanding, which applies the Center’s model to a highly charged dispute within a non-profit. He is the co-author, with Jack Himmelstein, of Challenging Conflict: Mediation Through Understanding (ABA Publishing and Harvard’s Program on Negotiation, 2008). In his latest insightful book, Inside Out: How Conflict Professionals Can Use Self-Reflection to Help Their Clients (ABA Publishing and Harvard’s Program on Negotiation, 2014), Gary Friedman presents how to access your internal selves when working with people in conflict in a way that is constructive for clients. This book is based on a program that Gary Friedman, along with colleague Jack Himmelstein (a law professor and lawyer) and Norman Fischer (a Buddhist monk), has been teaching for the last 13 years. It entreats conflict professionals to consider self-reflection, challenging typical conventions of conflict professionals by replacing them with a full and deep commitment to bringing all of one's self to serve others through self-awareness.
More recently, he has been applying the Center’s model of dealing with conflict to programs on dialogue between the races and in the area of journalism.