How to Deal With Conflict? Allegheny County Bar Association Offers Tips in Recognition of Conflict Resolution Day

Pittsburgh PennsylvaniaOctober 12, 2009.  Members of the Alternate Dispute Resolution Committee of the Allegheny County Bar Association today released some helpful tips for dealing with conflict in recognition of Conflict Resolution Day to be held on October 15.

    The event was started in 2005 by the Association for Conflict Resolution which was created in 2001 when the Academy of Family Mediators (AFM), the Conflict Resolution Education Network (CREnet), and the Society for Professionals in Dispute Resolution (SPIDR) merged into one organization.

    According to Mary Kate Coleman, chairperson of the bar association’s Alternate Dispute Resolution Committee, “many disputes or conflicts can be settled if people could just communicate and listen better.”

    According to the ADR Committee, the following tips, although they seem very simple, can help in dealing with conflict.

    • Listen to the other person and let the other person know that you have heard him or her. Conflict often occurs because someone does not feel like they were heard.
    • Put yourself in the other person’s shoes. Try to envision what the situation looks like from their perspective.
    • Be respectful.
    • It is not only what you say that is important, it is also important how you say it.
    • Pay attention to your body language when discussing a situation with another person.
    • Understand the difference between positions and needs. Positions are what you want. Needs are why you want what you want. Collaborate on how you each can get what you need.
    • If all else fails, try mediation.

    The Alternate Dispute Resolution Committee focuses on alternate means and methodology of resolving conflicts and disputes, in addition to traditional litigation within the judicial system. Non-judicial methods such as mediation, conciliation, fact-finding, mini-trials, and arbitration are considered viable and efficient alternate methods of dispute resolution. The committee’s goals are to sponsor education programs for members of the bar and for the public, to familiarize both of these groups with the available options, and to be a clearinghouse of ADR activities.

Chartered in 1870 and headquartered in downtown Pittsburgh, The Allegheny County Bar Association is a professional organization with more than 6,600 member attorneys, judges, magisterial district judges, legal administrators and paralegals.

For more information on the Association for Conflict Resolution (ACR) and National Conflict Resolution Day, visit its website at


Mary Kate Coleman


Ann Begler


Dan Cusick


Tom Loftus
Director of Marketing and Media Relations
Allegheny County Bar Association