Ron Gieseke, Visiting Assistant Professor at Chicago-Kent College of Law, began mediating with CCR in 2021. We asked Ron to share what sparked his interest in mediation, and what he’s learned along the way!
When did you start mediating with CCR?
I began with the training program in July 2020. In spring 2021 I was admitted to the Mediator Mentorship Program. My mentor, Laurie Koel, was instrumental to my success in that program. Since August 2021 I have been actively mediating CCR cases.
What initially drew you to mediation?
I am a retired corporate lawyer. During the course of my career I participated in numerous mediations. The successful ones were led by mediators with an exceptional, facilitative nature, level-headed, and with human insight and certainly professionalism. My peers often commented that I demonstrated those same traits in my practice. Upon retirement from active practice I felt that it was time to explore being a mediator myself.
Why is mediation important to you?
It provides a great way to give back to the legal profession, but more so to the community. CCR provides so many individuals the opportunity to resolve disputes in a timely and cost-effective way.
What types of cases have you mediated? Is there a specific case type that you find most interesting, or most challenging?
I’ve done an assortment of matters, ranging from landlord/tenant disputes, attorney fee claims, neighborhood matters, and stalking/no contact issues. Most challenging has been the handful of stalking/no contact cases that I’ve mediated over the past couple months. It’s an area that I felt most uncomfortable since I didn’t have personal experiences to draw upon. They have quickly become my favorite since I believe that I can most effectively help the parties sort out some of the issues they are confronting.
What has mediation taught you about yourself? About other people?
I always thought that I was a good listener, but I think what I’ve learned most is to be a more active listener. The case managers always stress that we should be curious, and I have found how helpful that is. I’ve also learned that all the parties are decent folks with somewhere in them a layer of wanting to work things out. You just need to be patient and see if that can be done in your time with them or perhaps lay the groundwork for a future resolution.
What advice would you give to new mediators?
Stay in the moment! That was the last note in my folder for the training two years ago, and that’s the exact way to approach mediation.
Thank you Ron for sharing your mediation insights and advice! CCR relies on around 180 volunteers like Ron to provide free, high-quality mediation services across Cook County. For more information on starting your mediation journey, visit our Training page!