BBWD Guest Table-talk: Episode 58

Date: April 21, 2022

  1.     What do you want people to know about you? Describe yourself in 6 words. Ex-

    “Mediator, arbitrator, mother, friend professor, and fixer. “


  1.     Let us know your business name, industry, location, and description. Why are you in this field? How did you get here?

Thank you for having me, Damali. That was a lovely thing to say. I enjoy the opportunity to help folks come to their conclusions about how they want to resolve their matter. Because ultimately, that is their matter, and they need to be able to take ownership of it and live with the solution they craft. ADR was the first law firm I worked in; we did much litigation when I was right out of law school. Insurance litigation and carriers were very keen on using mediation. I was learning how to meditate as an advocate on behalf of my client while working for some tech companies. As I looked at the company’s commercial contracts, I started to dispute resolutions and understand the litigation cost. And I think that there must be a better way of doing this. So I began to rewrite the contract for myself and my clients, but often I would be into somebody else’s contract. Therefore, I found myself in the commercial division of the Supreme Court in New York County. 

Often, with a pending case, I would appear in front of the particular judge as have scoundrel and defend it. Sometimes the judge would take my solution. Sometimes, he won’t. However, in 2005, the judge provided an opportunity and asked us to identify an attorney, door parts, and a good mediator for the panel. I did my 48 hours of training in 2005. I continue to train to this day, have finished my last 2021, and have consistently meditated since then. Also, around 2014 I decided not to litigate, but as a mediator, I was approached by Jeff Zeno to become an arbitrator. Since then, I have been an arbitrator. And the difference between the arbitrator and a mediator is that once the dispute arises, meaning going to court, you will have a third-party neutral, a private judge, decide for you. As a mediator, you hire a natural to help with your conversation and find the cause and issues than solutions. 


  1.     What was your biggest challenge in running your business or working in your industry throughout the pandemic?

I think the biggest challenge as a mediator, even to an arbitrator, is that a lot of what we do is derive our energy. In a group setting in the room, a mediation with all parties counseled in separate caucuses in the arbitration hearing room comes from being in a communal environment. The energy is not easily replicated using any digital platform, and that was the challenging aspect of continuing mediating and arbitrating not made during a pandemic. 


  1.     Where does your resilience come from, and how do you tap into it?

My resilience comes from my mom. My parent broke up when I was three and when I was ten, my mom moved to an NYC suburb. She went back to school and became a social worker at a young age. We worked around to prevail, and it gave me opportunities to learn about different people and different things. I was able to pass it and learn from it, and grow. It is like we are building the boat, and we are out to the sea, and I have to be able to adapt it. That is where my resilience comes from my mom and years of being in an inhospitable suburb.


  1.     Any mistake you made that you want to prevent others from making?

The greatest mistake comes from a lawyer, and a mediator thinks you can treat each matter the same way. However, you can’t because different issues come from other human beings’ individual life experiences. Therefore you have to be flexible. Let the client tell all their unhappiness about what happened, recognize what they are carrying and work that out. 


  1.     Each one. Teach one. Suggest a book, song, course, or program for our listeners.

    A movie called Ken Feinberg, who was the victim of 911. It shows his transformation and a look at himself and the change in him. Also, a class in Yale masterclass called the science of happiness. It dispels the thought of this need to be happy and teaches you what makes you happy or not and how to achieve it. 
Damali Peterman

Damali Peterman

Damali Peterman, Esq., is the Founder, CEO and Chief Conflict Resolver of Breakthrough ADR LLC. Damali has extensive experience in corporate law, mediation, negotiation, and conflict resolution. She is a highly sought after mediator and trainer for Fortune 500 companies, educational institutions, government entities, nonprofits and small businesses.

About Breakthrough ADR

BREAKTHROUGHADR partners with you to identify the best paths to achieving your goals. Whether you need help reaching agreement with another party or giving your partners, employees or students the tools needed to navigate and resolve conflicts, BREAKTHROUGHADR will work with you to help you accomplish your objectives and find your breakthrough.

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