As the NFL annual draft begins, due to the ongoing labour dispute between team owners and the NFL players, it is still unclear as to whether the new players will even have games to play in come the start of the new season. So far the players have failed to negotiate a new pay deal via their union and have been ‘locked out’ by the owners.

I’m not sure mediation stands much chance of success whilst all parties are more focused on outside-litigious processes to try and give themselves an edge in the negotiation. Mediation requires both sides to want to reach a deal through discussion, rather than continuing to be preoccupied with getting a grip on the other through legal process.

As reported by the New York Times here, there could soon be more parties involved. Some of the players, including New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, have suggested they will hire a law firm to represent their interests in the negotiations.

I’m not convinced it will be helpful to have a law firm in the middle of the mediation. Lawyers often find it difficult to avoid being partisan and confrontational on behalf of their clients. Not a great position from which to mediate, which requires a willingness to suspend hostilities and work collaboratively towards settlement with the other parties.

I’ll be watching this one closely…