The Uniform Mediation Act has gone to the states for consideration after about five years of research, drafting, and vetting, and ultimately, overwhelming support by the American Bar Association, the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws, most major dispute resolution professional organizations and service providers, and many if not most leading dispute scholars. Despite this support, concerns about the UMA still continue to echo from its drafting. Professor Brian Shannon's criticisms largely echo these discussions, and in this article I seek to respond to some of them - after first extending my greatest appreciation to Professor Shannon for his willingness to be the “skunk in the parlor” of this symposium edition by generally aggregating those criticisms. In Part I, I give some of the unpublished history of the UMA effort in the hope that it may facilitate greater understanding of the drafting process. In Part II, I categorize Professor Shannon's criticisms into three distinct (but sometimes overlapping) classes - general criticisms of the Act, criticisms of specific provisions in the Act, and criticisms of what is not in the Act - and I respond to those criticisms. Finally, in Part III, I provide some suggestions to state legislators for integrating the UMA into their laws with minimal disruption.
Richard C. Reuben, The Sound of Dust Settling: A Response to Criticisms of the Uma, 2003 J. Disp. Resol. 99 (2003)