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Inapt Metaphor of the Day: Litigation as Funnel

Funnel Up front, let me say that I've spent way too much time thinking about this for a Monday morning. But here goes.

Joeph C. Markowitz, an attorney out in La-La land (that's a disparaging reference to the city of Los Angeles, not Mr. Markowitz himself), maintains a blog dedicated to mediation. He calls it ... wait for it ... Mediation's Place. In a post yesterday, he riffs on a speech he heard at the annual conference of the Southern California Mediation Association over the weekend. I read the post, in which Markowitz compares litigation to mediation, and found it marginally interesting.

But what I couldn't stop thinking about was the metaphor that inspired the post:

In a talk I heard yesterday at the Southern California Mediation Association annual conference, Lee Jay Berman used the metaphor of a funnel to describe how how the legal system squeezes the issues involved in conflicts to the shape of a dried-out hamburger patty, so that most of the concerns of the participants in the dispute get left out of the process.

I read it over and over. And knew something just seemed off. Then I had a flashback to my college days. And I figured it out. While a funnel has a wide mouth and a narrow end, and may be useful in concentrating the input, it's not a filter. Things don't get "left out of the process." Everything that goes in comes out. Just ask this girl.

So I call on Lee Jay Berman, Esq. to reconsider his funnel metaphor. And I call on myself to find a hobby, so as to prevent future posts like this.

Posted by Eric Lipman on November 8, 2010 at 12:15 PM | Permalink | Comments (3)

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