Serving Ohio’s Mediators and those in need of Mediation services




OMA Book Group Discussion: Racial Equity and Civic Unrest, 08/06/20, 4:30 & Happy Hour, 5:30

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Thursday 08/06/20, 4:30 OMA Book Group Discussion About Racial Equity and Civic Unrest
Thursday 5:30 Happy Hour
For OMA Members:
Difficult conversations about race and politics are happening around us.
Each of us has the skills to play a small but important role in this moment.
If you would like to know how conversations and mediators can address these matters, OMA is hosting events around racial equity and civic unrest on Zoom. Invitation Links were emailed to members.
OMA Book Group: Racial Equity Series, Thursday, Aug. 6th, 4:30pm-5:30pm. Join us for our first discussion of books on racial equity, just before our August 6th Happy Hour. We are starting with “Race Talk and the Conspiracy of Silence: Understanding and Facilitative Difficult Dialogues on Race” by Derald Wing Sue. In the future, we could also discuss: How to Be an Antiracist by Ibrahim W. Kendi; So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo; Dog Whistle Politics by Ian Haney Lopez.
Coming Soon:
The Divided Community Project: Friday, Sept. 11th, 12:00pm-1:00pm. Join us for a presentation/Q&A by mediation powerhouse Nancy Rogers and Divided Community Project Co-Director Carl Smallwood. In 2015, the Moritz College of Law launched an effort to train community leaders to address civic unrest with conflict resolution skills. This effort proved prescient, given the nationwide protests following the homicide of George Floyd by white police officers.
Mark your calendars now!

Mediators Needed for Eviction Court COVID-19 Backlog Settlement Events—–Free Training 07/31/20 on Zoom

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Who Should Attend:

Individuals who are interested in learning how to mediate eviction cases in a municipal court setting, especially to assist with a backlog of cases related to the coronavirus pandemic.


Course Description

The Settlement Events – Eviction Mediation Training curriculum is a blended learning approach consisting of one online learning module (2.25 hours) followed by one half-day session (4 hours) of live interactive virtual classroom training for a total of 6.25 hours of training. Throughout this blended training curriculum, participants will be introduced to concepts that support the practice of mediation in eviction cases, including an overview of the eviction mediation framework, the eviction process, the impact of the CARES Act, the range of outcomes in eviction cases, and the applicable legal principles including the federal laws and regulations, state laws and regulations, local court rules, the Ohio Uniform Mediation Act and applicable mediation rules and standards.

This training satisfies the requirements under temporary Sup.R. 2.01 “Foreclosure and Settlement Event Mediation Training” of the Rules of Superintendence for the courts of Ohio, effective June 16, 2020, for all mediators who wish to receive settlement event and eviction mediation referrals from a municipal court in eviction cases or pre-eviction matters in Ohio.



Charlotte Parsons, Listen Mediation

James Petas, Sr. Mediator, Citizens Dispute Settlement Program, Toledo Municipal Court

(Are you an experienced Housing / Eviction Mediator willing to help coach the Role Plays during this training? Contact Kevin Lottes below.)


In order to attend this course, the following pre-requisites must be met:

  • After requesting to register for this training, you will be asked to list the counties in which you would be willing to mediate eviction cases; and
  • Answer questions regarding your mediation experience and background; and
  • Complete the online learning module available through OhioCourtEDU titled: Fundamentals of Mediation [ONLINE] which counts for 2.25 hours of the 6.25 hours of Settlement Events Mediation Training;

Course Description of Fundamentals of Mediation [ONLINE]: An Introduction to the Fundamentals of Mediation is an eLearning course designed to build a better understanding of mediation. Module one introduces fundamental concepts, ideas, core values, and definitions. Module two introduces participants to Ohio’s Uniform Mediation Act set forth in Revised Code Chapter 2710 and includes resources regarding regulations, rules, standards and ethics. 



This course is tuition-free. Materials are sent to participants via email in advance of the training dates.


CLE Credit

The online learning module has been approved for 2.25 hours of CLE credit.

Approval has been requested for 4 hours of CLE credit for the live training.



Friday, July 31 from 8:00 AM to 12:15 PM

This session will start at 8:00 AM and end by 12:15 PM

Login begins at 7:30 AM

This live interactive virtual classroom training is offered online. Login instructions will be provided to participants after completion of the pre-requisites and registration are confirmed.



This training will be offered in an online platform. Participants who register for this training through OhioCourtEDU will be notified of login instructions upon registration confirmation.

In order to ensure a quality and effective online platform training experience, certain requirements are needed:

  1. Computer with a camera and microphone
  2. Stable internet connection
  3. Quiet place to engage in mediation/interruption free-zone throughout the training
  4. Technology hiatus from your email, phone during the training
  5. Early log-on, at least 5 minutes before the start of the training


Registration Deadline

Course registration closes three days prior to the course, or when the course is full, whichever is sooner.

To register, go to: 

Questions or special accommodations

Please contact Kevin Lottes at

Dispute Resolution Website

A Message from Charlotte Parsons

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Dear Ohio Mediators,

We are not always as neutral as we think we are. What’s your agenda?
As a professional mediator, does your agenda include the survival and growth of your profession?
It should.

As mediators we understand neutrality, and we are successful in maintaining a neutral stance when we work with the disputants who come to us for help. We are trained to check our biases at the door. After all, we are professional mediators. But there is a bias, or self-interest, if you will, that I believe all mediators should practice: survival and growth of our profession.

The Ohio Mediation Association is uniquely capable of providing a structure to meet the needs of professional mediators, but that structure must be built and fortified by members and leadership. Without a dedicated organization to provide Ohio professional mediators a venue to grow their skills and a voice to educate the public, there is a threat the perceived value of mediation could shrink and fade away.

I am asking any and all professional mediators two things—please join me in rethinking how the OMA can 1) better serve the profession, and you, and 2) better educate the public.

You may be a court employee mediator, a part-time mediator who is also an attorney, therapist, other professional, or semi-retired grandparent. Or you may be like me, a self-employed full-time mediator with a private practice supplemented with a patchwork of court contracts and roster listings. We all have one thing in common as professionals, though. Despite our practice types or styles, we share a drive to provide excellent mediation to parties who seek self-determined resolutions of their disputes. This can only happen if our profession survives and grows.

It may be easy enough to work hard, provide services to those who ask and pay, to feel that we are doing enough “good” for the world while earning a living for ourselves. Hopefully most of us are meeting our personal needs through our mediation practice. I admit, all that makes me happy, as-is!

But is that enough? Are we also seeing the bigger picture? Are we doing enough to safeguard the future of our profession?

From a longer view, I think OMA members could do more: for the public, for the profession, and even for ourselves.

For most of us, it took years of study, hard work, and generous mentors to gain competence, confidence and financial comfort as professional mediators. To better see that longer view, consider how many people, children, families, businesses you alone have helped through mediation. Now consider how many Ohioans have benefited from our collective professional work. Ohio mediators have helped countless people!

It is crucial that we keep our skills sharp and open to modern thinking so we may continue to help people. We are fortunate that professional education opportunities are plentiful in our state, region and country. But do you feel like you have enough chance to process and communicate challenges or new knowledge with your colleagues from across the state? Would you find value in hearing case studies, lessons learned, and the trials and tribulations of mediators in other counties? Maybe it’s just me, but I would love that. OMA could be the perfect venue for such professional growth if we build a structure to accommodate that, and other topics which members may request. Please share your ideas!

Other than disputants who have directly benefitted from mediation, does the average Ohio citizen really know what professional mediation is? Do people understand that mediation can be an option before or after filing in court? Do they know that mediation can be used for limitless disputes, or as dispute prevention, not just for small claims, divorce, or world politics? The OMA could do more to educate and reach out to the public. Disputes happen; that’s a fact. But people will not seek mediation if they do not understand its benefits. Let’s show them! Please share your ideas!

As professional mediators, we owe it to ourselves to elevate how we mediate to the highest professional standards.
As professional mediators, we owe it to society to educate the public about how we help resolve disputes.
As professional mediators, we can accomplish these goals and more if we work together— that is my agenda for 2020.
What’s your agenda?

Please share your ideas!
Charlotte Parsons
Ohio Mediator

Charlotte Parsons is an Appointed Board Member of the Ohio Mediation Association

Free Half-Day Training for OMA Members

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On October 18, 2019, the Ohio Mediation Association offered members a free half-day training in motivational interviewing.

James Portner, LISW-S LICDC-CS, presented an overview and ethical considerations of motivational interviewing. Motivational Interviewing (MI) is an evidence-based practice developed to increase people’s motivation to change through collaborative conversations in an environment of compassion and empathy. The primary objective of this training series is to teach individuals the technical and relational skills of MI within the framework of the latest 3rd edition of William R. Miller and Stephen Rollnicks’; Motivational Interviewing; Helping People Change.

Many parties cannot contemplate compromise solutions to their dispute. MI is a way to develop the parties’ motivations to change (likely in caucus).

Member Spotlight: Tony Castelli

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This Member Spotlight features Tony Castelli, an accident and injury attorney who mediates insurance cases for several courts as well as private mediations for many types of civil cases.

Tony began his career as a social worker in 1973 before going to law school while working full time. He graduated and passed the Ohio Bar in 1981 and began practicing at a law firm where he would later become a Partner. He began his private practice in 1998, representing plaintiffs who have suffered injuries.

Tony is Vice-Chair of the Cincinnati Bar Association Alternative Dispute Resolution Section and has attended a week-long training at Harvard’s Program on Negotiation.

Where do you practice mediation, and what kinds of cases do you mediate?

I mediate cases throughout Ohio but primarily in the Greater Cincinnati Area.

From you experience practicing mediation, why do you believe that the mediation process is an effective process for resolving disputes?

Mediation causes the insurance company take a look at the case and put a value to it before significant money is spent on litigation. People get to be heard and are aware they are heard. So tactical active listening and empathy are critical.

What is your general philosophy or approach to mediation?

I like to give my own opening statement, but not the parties. I use both caucuses and joint sessions. I think the mediator should act as a communication facilitator by asking questions and enforcing ground rules. I like mediating through understanding as taught at Harvard’s program on negotiation. as well as using FBI hostage negotiation techniques. Although I’ve used the word “I” in this summary, it is something I stay away from in mediations.

What characteristics do you have that come in handy during mediations?

I reality test, often called “the legal table.” I am personable and know how to listen without interrupting. I know how to reframe and summarize. I know how to show empathy.

What advice would you give to disputants looking for a mediator?

Ask other lawyers, use the internet. Look for subject matter expertise, though that is not critical with a good mediator.

What are your thoughts on the development of mediation as a profession, practice, or field of study?

I think mediators try to become amateur psychologists and make things too complicated. Others are poorly trained and just carry offers back and forth. I enjoy meeting people and using the techniques I’ve learned to help the parties fashion a solution that works for both/all off them. Many mediators do not even introduce all of the parties to each other because they start in caucus. Starting off with this degree of disconnect between the parties is demeaning and prevents deeper resolutions, and yet, this practice is rampant. Why? Because they are afraid they or their client will anger the other side (back when every lawyer was trying their case in opening).

Member Spotlight: Edward Krauss

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This month’s member spotlight is our past president and elder statesman of mediation, Ed Krauss.

Ed served on the Ohio Commission on Dispute Resolution and Conflict Management before it was eliminated in statewide budget cuts in 2009.  He has been a diligent advocate for mediators in Ohio, and we appreciate his efforts.

More information about Ed is found on this website at

Read below to learn more about Ed and his approach to mediation.

Where do you practice mediation, and what kinds of cases do you mediate?

I mediate anywhere within a four-hour drive of Columbus. I’ve mediated several cases in West Virginia and along the southern rim of Ohio. None yet in Detroit or Ann Arbor, but I’d be pleased to do so. Most of my practice is in or near Central Ohio.
Although I’ve done a wide range of mediations, including domestic (parenting agreements for married and never-married parents), my specialties are two:
Employment/personnel disputes. I have mediated approximately 240 cases for the United States Postal Service, plus numerous cases for government offices and the private sector.
Financial disputes. These have included property evaluations by the county, historical preservation, land use, economic development, taxes, contracts, repairs to vehicles and homes. The largest case was fifteen million dollars.

From your experience practicing mediation, why do you believe that the mediation process is an effective process for resolving disputes?

When parties to a dispute are in mediation they have the power to decide the outcome. Of course they share that power, and both have a veto, which requires the mediator to help them work as a team, even if reluctantly, to find a mutually-acceptable resolution. In a court proceeding the parties have no power, the court has it all. In addition, a case will often take more than a year to get a court date due to various legal processes before the day in court, and two years is not uncommon. With mediation the question is “What is your schedule in two weeks?”

What is your general philosophy or approach to mediation?

I am a facilitative mediator. I don’t say who might be right or wrong, don’t offer any comments that sound like legal or financial advice. Rather, I help the parties find their own solution(s) by asking appropriate questions and helping the parties in their search for an acceptable outcome. In the words of my first instructor, Shelley Whalen, I defend the process.

What characteristics do you have that come in handy during mediations?

I have over three thousand hours of at-the-table experience. This is beneficial because mediation is both a science and an art. The science is the basic structure of mediation, guiding people through the search for an outcome acceptable to all parties, a process of organized problem solving. I’ve learned this and polished that learning through hundreds of hours of classes, including the excellent training opportunities offered by the Ohio Mediation Association (OMA). As for the art, all those hours at the table has allowed me to have a good feel for what to ask when, how to respond to anger or stubbornness or frustration or all the other emotions and behaviors that may be present. I’ve worked with many attorneys and know and appreciate their roles in providing advice and counsel to their clients during a mediation.

What advice would you give to disputants looking for a mediator?

Look on the OMA web site and read what mediators say about their experience and areas of practice. Give them a call or email; mediators are glad to hear from people interested in this form of dispute resolution and will explain what they do, how they work, what the fees are.

What are your thoughts on the development of mediation as a profession, practice, or field of study?

The biggest hurdle the profession faces is that mediation is rarely a part of the shared knowledge about how to resolve disputes – it is not in the American lexicon to any significant extent. When people are caught up in a conflict mediation does not readily come to mind as a way to find a positive outcome. OMA works to spread the word, to expand the use of mediation in the general public, but it is a true challenge.

What advice would you give to new mediators?

[1] Never forget that it is not your problem. You are there to help the parties share ideas and discuss the possible mutually-acceptable resolutions that may arise. If you are the hardest working person in the room it isn’t mediation.
[2] Questions are your friends. If you aren’t sure about something, ask. “How did it impact your company when the check bounced? What was your understanding of when the work would be completed? Which parent will carry the health insurance for the children?” If you have a question in your head, ask it.
[3] Silence is your friend. Often after an hour or two a point is reached where the two sides are showing movement toward a settlement, but seem stuck. Caucus is a valuable tool at this point, but before a caucus try this: Clearly state where both sides are, what has been decided, what has yet to be resolved. Verbally hold it up for them to see. Then SIT THERE. Don’t make hard eye contact; fiddle with your notes, jot things down, let them think. The chance that one of them will make a new offer in thirty seconds or less is high. It doesn’t mean the case will settle for sure, but it is a breakthrough moment, a way of getting past stuck. In general, don’t rush things, give people time to think, to consider, to formulate their next proposal.

Member Spotlight: Leah Hadley

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Leah is a CDFA and an MAFF.  Her website is

The first installment of our blog’s member spotlight series features Leah Hadley.

Located in Cleveland (but available by Zoom video conference), Leah works on domestic relations cases and specializes in financial analysis.

Financial issues in divorces are difficult, and and it is easier to negotiate knowing that the other side is fully disclosing assets.  Also, financial expertise helps each side understand the long-term consequences of particular divisions of assets and debts.

Leah was good enough to answer our questions:

Where do you practice mediation, and what kinds of cases do you mediate?

I practice in the Cleveland-area as well as virtually via Zoom video conferencing. My main office is in Middleburg Hts and I use office space in Beachwood and Westlake.

I primarily mediate domestic relations cases. With CDFA (Certified Divorce Financial Analyst) and MAFF (Master Analyst in Financial Forensics) designations, the majority of my cases have some level of financial complexity.

From your experience practicing mediation, why do you believe that the mediation process is an effective process for resolving disputes?

Mediation gives everyone a voice in the negotiation process, allowing parties to come up with their own solution that will work best for them. It also gives them much greater control over the outcome than if they use the court to determine their settlement.

What is your general philosophy or approach to mediation?

I begin each mediation by creating a clear framework for us to work within, laying out the process as well as ground rules. I work with the parties to identify the topics that need to be discussed and teach them communication strategies to make the most of their mediation sessions. I utilize my financial background by demonstrating the impact of proposals that are under consideration with the help of financial modeling software. I find the use of charts and graphs to be particularly helpful for those parties with limited financial knowledge, providing a visual illustration of various outcomes.

What characteristics do you have that come in handy during mediations?

One of the most important characteristics of a good mediator is that they are a good listener. Active listening has always come naturally to me and I model it for my clients. It is so important for everyone involved in a mediation to feel heard

My background is in financial analysis so many of the mediations that I facilitate involve some level of financial complexity. Having a strong financial background helps me know what questions to ask to help parties consider a variety of solutions.

What advice would you give to disputants looking for a mediator?

Look for an experienced mediator who has demonstrated a commitment to the practice of mediation. Ask them about their experience mediating cases like yours. Most importantly, find someone who you feel comfortable with, someone who you think will help you to stay calm and clear-headed as you negotiate your settlement.

What advice would you give to new mediators?

I would recommend that new mediators connect with more experienced mediators in either a practice group or informally. When I have a tough case, I find tremendous value in being able to discuss how to approach certain issues with my colleagues.