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Pepperdine | Caruso School of Law

Public Sector Mediation: Skills and Drills

Faculty: Toby Treem Guerin

This two-day, Thursday-Friday, March 17-18, 2016, course is limited to public sector employees and offered at a rate of $795.

Public Sector Mediation: Skills and Drills is a highly interactive skills-based course designed to enhance the tool kit of the public sector mediator. Whether mediating employment discrimination cases or other policy disputes, public sector mediators share common challenges unique to the civil service environment. This course focuses on skills to address high-conflict personalities and intense emotions, self-represented parties unaccustomed to distributive negotiations, advocates expecting an evaluative mediation model, and unions and enforcement agencies with outside interests. The workshop also addresses issues of authority and agency, as well as the impasses of inertia (the wait for a new administration or policy, budget cycle, or collective bargaining agreement).

Designed to bridge the gap between the orthodox mediation models taught (theory) and the realities of public sector mediation (practice), this intensive presents the skills most relevant to public sector mediators via drills and role-plays. The trainers bring their extensive public sector experiences to integrate common ethical challenges and maximize outcomes in public sector mediations.

What you will learn:

  • Closing the deal with inexperienced negotiators
  • Reality testing (with an emphasis on the narrow and more directive) to round out the public sector mediator's tool kit
  • Strategic questioning methods such as t-funneling and directional questions
  • Identifying "ghosts" in the room or uncovering an advocate's unarticulated institutional interests
  • Techniques to use with high-conflict individuals
  • Managing strong emotions


Toby Treem Guerin is the deputy director for the Center for Dispute Resolution at the University of Maryland Carey School of Law and clinical instructor for its Mediation Clinic. Guerin has over 15 years experience mediating and facilitating in various venues including government agencies, nonprofit organizations, and court systems. She served as the first chairperson of the Mediator Excellence Council, a mediator quality-assistance initiative in Maryland and formerly directed the agricultural mediation program at the Maryland Department of Agriculture. Guerin conducts trainings on topics such as basic mediation, co-mediation, elicitive feedback, mentoring, and effective communication, among others.