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Latest Mediation Book by Prof. Douglas Frenkel L’72 integrates text-, video-based learning

June 19, 2012

Douglas Frenkel L’72, Penn Law’s Morris Shuster Practice Professor of Law, is the co-author of The Practice of Mediation: A Video-Integrated Text, the second edition of which was released June 11. Frenkel, who served as Director of the Law School’s nationally renowned clinical program, the Gittis Center for Clinical Legal Studies, from 1980 to 2008, recently sat down with Penn Law’s Office of Communications for a video feature about the book, its uniqueness and value to students and practitioners alike.


I’m Doug Frenkel and I direct the Mediation Clinic here at the University of Pennsylvania Law School. Together with Jim Stark from the University of Connecticut, I wrote a book called The Practice of Mediation: A Video-Integrated Text. The first edition of that book came out in 2008 and the second edition is due to come out in the spring of 2012 through Aspen Publishers.

The integrated text is going to be available not only in the traditional hard copy with a link to a website, but also on a variety of electronic appliances – e-readers and smartphones – so the material will be a lot more portable and accessible.

The video case studies that were in the first edition and which will be carried over and expanded into the second edition involve typical mediation scenarios and very realistic ones. They [include] a dispute over a kitchen renovation, a  mediation over a very hotly contested child custody dispute, and a mediation of a personal injury matter stemming from a young man who was assaulted in his apartment building and who alleges that the building was inadequately secured - and he’s suing his landlord.

It just seems obvious to me that a book about process learning and about the skills of mediation needed to portray this in more than words. I was shocked to find out that nobody had ever done this before. One of the things we’ve learned both from our students and from teachers around the country, and in Canada and Australia where the book is being used on a regular basis, is that students find that homework is fun and actually look forward to watching a screen or reading the text. And as I said before the real payoff is that the learning goes on at such an accelerated level.

The fact that these videos depicted in a way that we couldn’t actually have scripted or imagined these different mediators’ styles made these videos a very hot commodity in the field. So much so that the book and the video have been used by professional training programs – by the New York City Bar, the New Jersey Association of Professional Mediators, and a variety of other trainers around the country. It’s been very gratifying to reach those levels of audiences.