How we deal with people
Simply reading some of the pages of this website will tell you about the philosophy and psychology that underpin Andrew Taylor’s work as a professional mediator.
He believes handling parties in dispute requires natural empathy, broad inter-personal skills, imagination, and that rare ability to look down on the forest while also tending the trees. “Personality” and “Negotiation” are among his personal interests.
Andrew is a “natural” and experienced mediator, thoughtful, empathetic, always exploring the interests of participants and the obstacles which prevent them from achieving the best outcome.
Wide experience in law
Andrew has spent over 20 years in practice as a solicitor and 20 years entirely outside the legal profession, in many business roles. That has given him a unique perspective on all the problems which might beset a business - and how to solve most of them.
As a solicitor, Andrew worked in a Northern city practice on company and commercial work, including extensive litigation. For some three years, that included a substantial workload in clinical negligence.
Unlike many mediators, Andrew has direct personal experience of involvement in business litigation. He believes this gives him a rare understanding (among mediators) of what he describes as “trying to sleep and work under the life-destroying clouds of litigation”.
. . . . and other business experience
In his business affairs, Andrew has started, sold, closed or floated numerous businesses of his own, or been involved as a director with others, relating to:
- jewellery manufacturing and sale, including import / export.
- residential property renovation, from rural cottages to a 24 room mansion.
- building a commercial property development company from scratch to flotation on the Unlisted Securities Market.
- a part time directorship of a public company with responsibility variously for house-building and a steel re-rolling mill.
- pioneering dealing in “micro-computers” before IBM even released the “PC” in the UK.
- (as a solicitor) various appointments as a formal director or simply informal chairman to the board of client companies with ongoing problems including disagreements among the directors or family shareholders.
- building a retailer of high quality legal document templates - in which he retains an involvement.
- honorary solicitor for a national sport controlling body.
- Vice Consul to the Royal Netherlands.
- many small property development proposals.
- Andrew has also kept horses on and off, over the years and competed (at a low level!) in several spheres.
As result of this experience, there are few situations where Andrew will fail to understand the issues or be unable to guide participants towards solutions and options.
The Mediator's priorities
Andrew will not be drawn on setting out his style in a sentence, but it comes down to balancing three elements. He says he aims to:
- “be sure that the parties (and I) understand the facts at issue and a broad sweep of the law that applies. The disputants need to know enough to be able to make informed decisions but not so much that they concentrate solely on their perception of their legal interests.
- maintain a level playing field - in the room or online, as the case may be. For many reasons, that is sometimes difficult, but I will outlaw filibuster, bombast and bullying.
- ultimately, making sure it is the parties who agree the deal because that is what they want - and not me foisting the deal on them.”
On his role as a mediator, Andrew says:
“I will never be an advocate or judge. The deal you make has to be your own. I will help you to find a win:win situation. That way, there are no scars of battle, no expense of weaponry, no loss of face, no waste of time.
I try to keep the playing field as level as possible while avoiding taking a role as inquisitor or judge. Never do I forget that my role is as a neutral facilitator.
I take the view that you pay me a considerable fee to take a pro-active role in achieving a settlement. I get to understand the interests, attitudes, strengths and weaknesses of the conflict-parties as soon as possible – usually, well before the day of the big meeting. When negotiations are going well I conduct them with a light touch. When a problem arises, I’m not afraid of blunt speaking and vigourous reality testing.
Some Mediators believe in a passive role. I do not. I feel sure that you have not paid me to sit sweetly by, while you and your conflict party tear each other apart. You have paid a considerable fee to achieve a settlement, so that is what I strive to give you.
I have my feet firmly on the ground and do not live in a legal ivory tower. My optimistic enthusiasm for life and business have taken me many times to wear disputants are when they first come to me - just wishing it would all go away so that I could get on with my life. Sometimes it has been necessary to make a formal claim in court; more often I have negotiated a settlement. Twice, I used mediation.”
By the way . . .
Andrew is no tech wizard but he is a determined user of technology as a tool in any aspect of business affairs. He is particularly enthusiastic about use of online mediation.
- Andrew is also available to assist you with both direct negotiations and to assist you as a party to a mediation through some other mediator. His analytic approach and understanding of the law, the issues and the way people behave, make him a valuable colleague at any stage of a dispute. Andrew can advise you generally or specifically on dispute management, or accompany you through a difficult or ongoing mediation process.