The Nine Dots Approach to Mediation

Everyone has a story. With Nine Dots Mediation, you can trust you’re working with a dedicated, empathetic listener who will hear that story from all sides.

Resolutions that endure are created by the parties themselves, not the mediator. That’s why Nine Dots practices a facilitative approach, helping both parties examine the dispute through every lens and understand all parts of the story, including a forward-looking perspective on how the resolution will impact each stakeholder 10, 20 or even 30 years down the road. This approach fosters a holistic and mutual understanding that is critical for resolution.

About Hannah Temple, Attorney-Mediator

As the youngest child of four in my family, I have been mediating disputes all my life. I grew up in rural East Texas and often attempted to resolve arguments among the pack of neighborhood kids by stating, “The problem is…” and going on to clarify the issues.

I grew up in rural East Texas and often attempted to resolve arguments among the pack of neighborhood kids by stating, “The problem is…” and going on to clarify the issues.

I hold a bachelor’s degree from Pomona College and a juris doctorate from Stanford Law School Order of the Coif, and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1999. I have worked as an attorney in the Travis County Attorney’s Office, the Office of the Texas Secretary of State and the Texas Legislative Council. As an assistant county attorney for Travis County, I tried numerous cases before a judge and jury and learned firsthand how difficult it is to predict outcomes at trial due to the unreliable nature of witness testimony and unpredictability of the judge’s or jury’s decision-making processes.

My training in conflict resolution began at Pomona College, where I was a volunteer for the Alternatives to Violence Project, a nonprofit dedicated to teaching conflict resolution skills in a variety of settings.  After practicing law for many years, I decided to pursue additional conflict resolution training opportunities. To that end, I completed my basic mediation training at the Center for Public Policy Dispute Resolution and the Advanced Family Mediation Course and the Elder Mediation Training at the Dispute Resolution Center in Austin, Texas. I am a TMCA Credentialed Advanced Mediator and a member of the Association of Attorney-Mediators, the Austin Mediators Association and the Texas Association of Mediators. I also am a volunteer mediator at the Dispute Resolution Center in Austin, where I have mediated numerous family law cases, among others.

I currently serve as Chair-Elect of the board of directors of the Dispute Resolution Center in Austin and vice-chair of the T.L.L. Temple Foundation in Lufkin, Texas. I previously served as the chair of the board for Breakthrough Central Texas and as a board director for Balcones Resources, St. Stephen’s Episcopal School and the Dell Children’s Medical Center Foundation in Austin, as well as on the steering committee for the capital campaign to build a new children’s museum in Austin (the Thinkery).

The Nine Dots Name

When I began mediation training, one of the first activities we were asked to complete was the Nine Dots game. The goal of the puzzle is to connect all nine dots using four continuous straight lines or fewer, without lifting your pencil from the page. I remember it clearly—I was one of many trainees who couldn’t figure out the puzzle at first because I was attempting to connect the dots without going outside the box. It was an eye-opening experience because I realized that unconventional thinking (literally thinking outside the box) is often more likely to result in a viable solution than a more traditional approach. When it comes to my mediation work, I ask my clients to use this same line of creative thinking when working toward their resolutions.