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Likeable Mediation

Beyond Compromise: A Unique Mediation Model that Takes Parties on a Creative Journey to Discover Better Agreements that Achieve More of Everyone's Objectives.

The Likeable Approach to Creative Agreement and Resolution

Since 2003, The Likeable Lawyer has inspired lawyers with a unique approach to CLE. Our material teaches advocates how to reduce acrimony and work more creatively and effectively with opposing counsel. Our negotiation models have helped over 50,000 lawyers expand the range of options in order to create better resolutions and achieve more of their clients' objectives.

The Likeable Lawyer now offers a unique mediation service that facilitates our creative and expansive approach. Suited to any situation where the parties desire win-win resolutions and durable agreements, our mediation model takes parties through the steps of our expansive negotiation models to expand the possibilities and creatively discover better solutions to a variety of situations. Unlike traditional mediation which has one neutral mediator helping the parties forge a resolution they can live with, our two facilitator approach coaches parties through a process that generates creative solutions intended to fully satisfy the goals of all concerned.

  • Our expert facilitation will help you avoid the polarized combativeness that inhibits creativity.
  • We facilitate collaborative brainstorming sessions that reveal brilliant ways to achieve more of everyone's objectives.

Whether to resolve a dispute (in or out of litigation), create a new partnership, or reach a lasting agreement of any kind, our unique approach helps parties arrive at creative, expansive agreements that achieve more of everyone’s important objectives.

How Likeable Mediation Differs From Traditional Mediation

Whereas traditional mediation relies upon one mediator to bridge the gap, our model employs two facilitator-mediators, each working with one of the parties. We help the parties dig beneath their stated positions and facilitate them to creatively satisfy their most important needs and objectives. Our approach include a heavy dose of coaching to help the parties avoid the trappings of polarized bargaining. We instead facilitate all-party creative brainstorming sessions, proposal development and expansive negotiation that discovers better agreements for everyone concerned.

Our model is best suited to parties that seek an out-of-the-box resolution that fully satisfies the needs of the other party as well as their own. Our process is not suited for parties who seek to outmaneuver the other side to win.

Benefits of Likeable Mediation

Likeable Mediation guides parties to creatively brainstorm and negotiate better deals than they would on their own. Therefore the number one benefit of Likeable Mediation is a creative solution that would not have been discovered otherwise. Some of the other benefits include:

  • Develop a deeper understanding of what everyone needs and wants.
  • Build productive and creative long-term relationships.
  • Learn brainstorming, negotiation and relationship-building skills that will serve to facilitate better results in all future negotiations.
  • Save money by avoiding litigation, or risking a bad deal or no deal at all.

Who Would Benefit?

Likeable Mediation helps parties discover creative resolutions when all parties desire to work together to find ways to fully achieve everyone’s needs and objectives. Regardless of whether there is current discord, parties must be willing to see the others involved as having legitimate needs and points of view. Likeable Mediation is a flexible model that can be adapted to a wide variety of situations including:

  • Individuals or entities seeking to avoid litigation.
  • Parties currently involved in a lawsuit seeking an expansive settlement.
  • Companies looking to create a new business venture, partnership, merger or acquisition.
  • Groups involved in complex negotiations.
  • Just about any situation that would benefit from creativity and a strongly-facilitated negotiation model.

How It Works

Although each Likeable Mediation is uniquely tailored to facilitate the parties to reach successful agreement, our model generally follows the following three stages:

Stage One: Evaluation and Needs Mapping

The first phase of our facilitated mediation is typically a half-day session, including both individual caucus and joint collaborative sessions. One mediator will be assigned to each party and will facilitate a creative exploration to identify and understand exactly what each side wants and needs out of the negotiation. The parties will then come together to share and combine their lists to create a single, all-parties Needs Map. This Needs Map will serve as a target for complete success during the later negotiation.

At the conclusion of this session, the parties will discuss and agree upon a process and schedule for the remaining steps of the negotiation. The parties might jump into the subsequent stages on that same day, or establish a two or three day schedule depending on the complexity of the situation and affinity of the parties.

This first session is intended to achieve the following:

  • Establish and strengthen a collaborative desire and facility;
  • Learn the ingredients necessary for maximum creativity and flexibility during a negotiation;
  • Co-create a comprehensive list of what all sides want and need out of the negotiation;
  • Allow the parties to evaluate whether they desire/need continued facilitation; and
  • Agree upon a negotiation schedule.

Stage Two: Creative Brainstorming

The second phase of Likeable Mediation is facilitated, creative brainstorming. Distinctly separate from the later negotiations, this stage is exclusively to generate ideas that will later be evaluated in individual caucus. The mediators will manage the conversation and ask exploratory questions to engage the creative brilliance of all parties. The outcome of this session is a long list of potential solutions. The parties will then evaluate all the ideas in their respective caucuses in order to mix and match elements and create a negotiation proposal with which to begin the negotiation.

Stage Three: Expansive Negotiation

The final phase of Likeable Mediation is the negotiation. This might take place the same day as the Creative Brainstorming session, or the following day if time is needed to evaluate and create a resolution proposal. We call this final phase Expansive Negotiation because the process is designed to reveal creative solutions that expand the size of the pie. The goal is for everyone concerned to realize more of what they want and need. We are confident that our model will lead to a breakthrough in collaborative behavior and creative possibilities. We encourage parties to stick with it through creative blocks and emotional tensions in order to discover the best possible solutions and create enduring agreements that leave everyone fully happy and satisfied.

Likeable Mediation Packages

Depending on the interests involved, the complexity of the matter and the relationship of the parties, our facilitated mediation packages run from 1-3 days. The longer programs are required for complex matters, to manage tensions and anxiety, and to allow the creative brain to “sleep on” certain steps in the process. The goal is a negotiated resolution that expands the size of the pie and achieves most, if not all, of the objectives of all parties. This results from creative breakthroughs that cannot be rushed. Our expert facilitators will ask the right questions and nurture the process until a breakthrough is achieved. We recommend that our clients begin with a half-day Evaluation and Needs Mapping session during which the parties will discuss options and decide upon an appropriate mediation package and schedule.

Our Qualifications

The Likeable Mediation team is Brian Hammer, M.A., J.D., and Jeffrey Stec, J.D. Brian and Jeff have a combined 20 years experience practicing law, and have been developing, teaching and facilitating their unique models for creative, expansive negotiation since 2003.

Brian Hammer, M.A., J.D.

Brian Hammer is the founder and a facilitator for The Likeable Lawyer. Brian practiced law for over ten years before starting The Likeable Lawyer in 2003, and has designed and delivered thousands of highly-praised programs to law firms, corporations and organizations nationwide. He is a frequent speaker at bar conventions, law firm events and other professional association meetings. Brian is a graduate of the University of Texas School of Law, the University of North Carolina School of Business, and holds a Masters of Psychology degree from the University of Santa Monica.

Jeffrey Stec, J.D.

Jeffrey Stec has been a licensed lawyer since 1992. Jeff is a certified mediator and strategic planning facilitator and has developed an expertise in the collaborative dispute resolution. In addition to his work with The Likeable Lawyer, he is a sought-after consultant who works with non-profits and municipalities to fashion solutions to complex organizational and community issues. Jeff graduated with honors from the University of Michigan Law School, and earned a Bachelor of Arts in English with high honors from the University of Michigan.

Learn More

To schedule a phone call to learn more about Likeable Mediation and to see if it is right for your situation please email: and let us know when you are available to talk with Brian and/or Jeff.

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King & Spalding

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Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy

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Righi Law Group

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Stathopulos & Associates

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Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld