Human Studies

, Volume 24, Issue 3, pp 227–249 | Cite as

“Think Your Blackest Thoughts and Darken Them:” Judicial Mediation of Large Money Damage Disputes

  • Stacy Burns


This paper considers a much neglected, but distinctive and increasingly prevalent kind of mediation work: the mediation of large money damage cases by acting and former judges. The research finds that judicial mediation is a law-infused procedure different from forms of mediation in which the stuff of law and lawyers' work is only marginally relevant, if at all. The study details how judge-mediators draw on their knowledge of the law, technically and as a matter of professional practice, to make legally persuasive arguments that critically evaluate each side's case and what is likely to occur at future points, adversely altering the litigants' understanding of the risks and costs of failing to settle and thus facilitating dispute resolution. The study was developed and pursued as an ethnographic and ethnomethodological study of work.


Political Philosophy Professional Practice Dispute Resolution Modern Philosophy Damage Case 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Atkinson, J. Maxwell. (1992). Displaying Neutrality: Formal Aspects of Informal Court Proceedings. In P. Drew and J. Heritage (Eds.), Talk at Work, pp. 199–211. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Book of Approved Jury Instructions (BAJI), California Jury Instructions, Civil (6th Edition). (1977). St. Paul, Minnesota: West Publishing.Google Scholar
  3. Burns, Stacy. (1996). Lawyers' Work in the Menendez Brothers' Murder Trial. Issues in Applied Linguistics 7(1): 19–32.Google Scholar
  4. Burns, Stacy. (1998). The Name of the Game is Movement: Concession-Seeking in Judicial Mediation of Large Money Damage Cases. Mediation Quarterly 15: 359–367.Google Scholar
  5. Burns, Stacy. (2000). Making Settlement Work: An Examination of the Work of Judicial Mediators. Aldershot, U.K.: Dartmouth/Ashgate.Google Scholar
  6. Calabresi, Guido. (1969). The Cost of Accidents. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  7. Calabresi, Guido and Bobbitt, P. (1978). Tragic Choices. New York: W.W. Norton & Company.Google Scholar
  8. California Code of Civil Procedure, sections 269 and 274c.Google Scholar
  9. California Judges' Benchbook, Civil Trials. (1981). Foundation for Judicial Education. California Labor Code, section 2922.Google Scholar
  10. Clayman, Steven. (1992). Footing in the Achievement of Neutrality: The Case of News Interview Discourse. In P. Drew and J. Heritage (Eds.), Talk at Work, pp. 163–198. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  11. Cover, Robert and Fiss, Owen. (Eds.). (1979). The Structure of Procedure. New York: The Foundation Press.Google Scholar
  12. Deutsch, J. (1978). Law as Metaphor: A Structural Analysis of Legal Process. Georgetown L.J.66: 1339.Google Scholar
  13. Drew, Paul and Heritage, John. (Eds.). (1992). Talk at Work. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  14. Emerson, Robert. (1969). Judging Delinquents: Context and Process in Juvenile Court. Chicago: Aldine.Google Scholar
  15. Emerson, Robert. (1983). Contemporary Field Research. Prospect Heights, Ill.: Waveland Press.Google Scholar
  16. Emerson, Robert, Fretz, R. and Shaw, L. (1995). Writing Ethnographic Fieldnotes. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  17. Folger, J.P. and Jones, T. (Eds.). (1994). New Directions in Mediation, Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  18. Garcia, Angela. (1991). Dispute Resolution Without Disputing: How the Interactional Organization of Mediation Hearings Minimizes Argumentative Talk. American Sociological Review 56: 818–835.Google Scholar
  19. Garcia, Angela. (1997). Interactional Constraints on Proposal Generation in Mediation Hearings: A Preliminary Investigation. Discourse and Society 8(2): 219–249.Google Scholar
  20. Garfinkel, Harold. (1967). Studies in Ethnomethodology. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
  21. Garfinkel, Harold. (1988). Evidence for Locally Produced, Naturally Accountable Phenomena of Order, etc.: An Announcement of Studies. Sociological Theory 6: 103–109.Google Scholar
  22. Garfinkel, Harold. (1996). Ethnomethodology's Program. Social Psychology Quarterly 59(1): 5–21.Google Scholar
  23. Garfinkel, Harold and Sacks, Harvey. 1970. On Formal Structures of Practical Actions. In J.C. McKinney and E.A. Tiryakian (Eds.), Theoretical Sociology, pp. 338–366. New York: Appleton Century Crofts.Google Scholar
  24. Greatbatch, David and Dingwall, R. (1989). Selective Facilitation: Some Preliminary Observations in a Strategy Used by Divorce Mediators. Law and Society Rev 23: 613–641.Google Scholar
  25. Greatbatch, David and Dingwall, R. (1994). The Interactive Construction of Interventions by Divorce Mediators. In J.P. Folger and T. Jones (Eds.), New Directions in Mediation, pp. 84–109.Google Scholar
  26. Greatbatch, David and Dingwall, R. (1997). Argumentative Talk in Divorce Mediation Sessions. American Sociological Review 62: 151–170.Google Scholar
  27. Heritage, John. (1985). Analyzing News Interviews: Aspects of the Production of Talk for an 'Overhearing' Audience. In T. van Dijk (Ed.), Handbook of Discourse Analysis, vol. III, pp. 95–119. London: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  28. Kandel, Randy. (1994). Power Plays: A Sociolinguistic Study of Inequality in Child Custody Mediation and a Hearsay Analog Solution. Ariz. L. Rev 36: 879.Google Scholar
  29. Livingston, Eric. (1986). The Ethnomethodological Foundations of Mathematics. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.Google Scholar
  30. Llewellyn, Karl. (1930). The Bramble Bush. New York: Oceana Publishers, Inc.Google Scholar
  31. Llewellyn, Karl. (1960). The Common Law Tradition: Deciding Appeals. Boston: Little Brown and Company.Google Scholar
  32. Lynch, Michael. (1985). Art and Artifact in Laboratory Science. Boston: Routledge and Kegan Paul.Google Scholar
  33. Lynch, Michael. (1992). Closure and Disclosure in Pre-Trial Argument. Human Studies 5(40): 15–33.Google Scholar
  34. Lynch, Michael. (1993). Scientific Practice and Ordinary Action. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  35. Lynch, Michael. (1997). Preliminary Notes on Judges' Work: The Judge as a Constituent of Courtroom 'Hearings.' In Travers and Manzo (Eds.), Law in Action: Ethnomethodological and Conversational Analytic Approaches to Law, pp. 99–130. Aldershot, U.K.: Dartmouth/ Ashgate Press.Google Scholar
  36. Macbeth, Douglas. (1996). The Discovery of Situated Worlds: Analytic Commitments, or Moral Orders? Human Studies 19: 267–287.Google Scholar
  37. Merleau-Ponty, Maurice. (1962). The Phenomenology of Perception. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.Google Scholar
  38. Moerman, Michael. (1973). The Use of Precedent in Natural Conversation: A Study in Legal Reasoning. Semiotica 9: 193–218.Google Scholar
  39. Moerman, Michael. (1988). Talking Culture. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.Google Scholar
  40. Pollner, Melvin. (1974). Mundane Reasoning. Philosophy of the Social Sciences 4: 35–54.Google Scholar
  41. Pollner, Melvin. (1979). Explicative Transactions: Making and Managing Meaning in Traffic Court. In G. Psathas (Ed.), Everyday Language. New York: Irvington.Google Scholar
  42. Rifkin, Janet, Millen, J. and Cobb, S. (1991). Toward a New Discourse for Mediation: A Critique of Neutrality. Mediation Quarterly 9: 151–164.Google Scholar
  43. Sacks, Harvey. (1972). On the Analyzability of Stories by Children. In J. Gumpertz and D. Hymes (Eds.), Directions in Sociolinguistics: The Ethnography of Communication. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.Google Scholar
  44. Sacks, Harvey. (1979). Hotrodder: A Revolutionary Category. In G. Psathas (Ed.), Everyday Language. New York Irvington Press.Google Scholar
  45. Sacks, Harvey. (1984). Notes on Methodology. In J.M. Atkinson and J. Heritage (Eds.), Structures of Social Action: Studies in Conversational Analysis, pp. 21–27. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  46. Sacks, Harvey. (1988). On Members' Measurement Systems. Research on Language and Social Interaction 22: 45–60.Google Scholar
  47. Sacks, Harvey. (1992). In G. Jefferson (Ed.), Lectures on Conversation, (1964–1972), 2 vols. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  48. Shapiro, M. (1979). Toward a Theory of Stare Decisis. In Fiss and Cover (Eds.), The Structure of Procedure, pp. 380–387. New York: Foundation Press.Google Scholar
  49. Sudnow, David. (1965). Normal Crimes: Sociological Features of the Penal Code. Social Problems 12: 255–276.Google Scholar
  50. Sudnow, David. (1978). Ways of the Hand. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  51. Travers, Max. (1997). The Reality of Law: Work and Talk in a Firm of Criminal Lawyers. Aldershot,U.K.: Dartmouth/Ashgate Press.Google Scholar
  52. Travers, Max and Manzo, John. (Eds.). (1997). Law in Action: Ethnomethodological and Conversational Analytic Approaches to Law. Aldershot, U.K.: Dartmouth/Ashgate Press.Google Scholar
  53. Watson, D.R. (1997). The Presentation of Victim and Motive in Discourse: The Case of Police Interrogations and Interviews. In M. Travers and J. Manzo (Eds.), Law in Action: Ethnomethodological and Conversational Analytic Approaches to Law, pp. 77–97. Aldershot, U.K.: Dartmouth/Ashgate Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stacy Burns
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of SociologyLoyola Marymount UniversityLos AngelesUSA

Personalised recommendations