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481 weeks ago @ Diane Dimond - Lawsuits Don't Have to... · 0 replies · +1 points

Thanks for the extra enlightenment, Mr. Levin. I'm always for thinking out side the box and I'm proud my home state of New Mexico is such a leader in this field.

Thanks for taking the time to write! ~DD

481 weeks ago @ Diane Dimond - Lawsuits Don't Have to... · 0 replies · +1 points

ABQ Journal Reader David Levin writes:

"Congratulations on a clear, thoughtful piece on Collaborative Law!
There is a true need for the public to learn of alternatives to the traditional legal method of dispute resolution. You have made a significant contribution to New Mexico. I would like to discuss "mediation," a term which covers many different processes and styles.

One style, which one could call litigation mediation, is practiced mainly by lawyers and emphasizes shuttle diplomacy. This style does fit some circumstances. Another style which is more commonly taught is more facilitative, and emphasizes joint sessions with occasional individual sessions. Mediation can also bring in experts with subject matter knowledge. Mediation is not always "cumbersome" or designed to separate people. There are other styles.

We need to support all forms of ADR (Alternative Methods of Dispute
Resolution). There are cases where traditional litigation is
appropriate and needed. There are even more cases where an appropriate form of ADR would be helpful. We need to help people become informed about all ADR methods. We need to support people making thoughtful decisions about which method fits for them. A tenet of ADR is informed and fair self determination. A first decision needs to be about which process to use, from traditional litigation through the spectrum of ADR.

New Mexico has been a ADR leader and an innovator. ADR is not a static field. New methods and best practices are constantly emerging, such as Collaborative Law among others. There is an on-going public need for more information. Your article helps legitimize an exciting ADR development, Collaborative Law. Bravo!

I look forward to reading your pieces. If I may be of any assistance, please let me know.

Thank you.

David Levin

Director, Court Alternatives
Second Judicial District Court
State of New Mexico

Co-Chair, ADR Committee
State Bar of New Mexico

482 weeks ago @ Diane Dimond - Lawsuits Don't Have to... · 0 replies · +1 points

"Thanks, Marsha!
You've added great information to my restrictive 800 words or less format.

I'm with you in hoping we really have evolved as a culture and are at a time when more and more people are ready to TALK about resolving disputes!"

482 weeks ago @ Diane Dimond - Lawsuits Don't Have to... · 1 reply · +1 points

Reader Marsha Lichtenstein writes:

"Thanks for letting everyone know that among attorneys there is a growing interest in collaboration. It is a signal that we as a culture are ready for more dialogue in resolving disputes and less polarization (us versus them) and hostile confrontation.

I am a professional mediator and would like to correct your description of what mediators do and who are the mediators. First mediation is not a cumbersome process. It is much simpler than any other conflict resolution process including any process that involves using lawyers. Secondly, the cost is almost always lower because mediators charge less than lawyers charge (with the exception of lawyer mediators) and usually work solo. Thirdly, many lawyers have not been trained in mediation but feel they have they can advertise themselves as mediators because they have had many opportunities to negotiate with other attorneys. Attorneys who think they can mediate may be trying to adapt their adversarial skills to a collaborative model without ever having been trained in mediation, so what you are getting is a kind of mixed model, hit or miss approach.

Next, you are correct that many mediators are not lawyers. Since law has typically been an adversarial process, people that want to go into the field of mediation are different from the type of people that have been attracted to a career in law. We are generally interested in building relationships, creating dialog, and helping parties resolve disputes in ways that ensure everyone has some degree of satisfaction with the outcome (that is, we don’t share the ‘win/lose’ mentality of most lawyers). When I meet a lawyer who has become a mediator, that is, taken sufficient basic and advanced training to call himself a mediator…wow, that is a special person who has been able to grow beyond the socialization experiences of law school education.

While a handful of mediators may use “shuttle diplomacy”, where parties are in different rooms while the mediator travels back and forth, the predominant mediation model puts all the parties in the same room in order to reach agreement. Mediation is an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) process. ADR includes mediation, negotiation, settlement conference, early neutral evaluation, arbitration, and several hybrids. Mediation is the ADR process which allows parties the greatest amount of control over outcomes. What differentiates mediation from other forms of alternative dispute resolution is its “best practice” of party self-determination, the practice of supporting parties to make voluntary, non-coerced decisions.

And by the way, mediators may also have a team of experts: financial advisers, attorneys, real estate appraisers, accountants, and any other type of expertise needed to successfully resolve a dispute. Most mediators are process specialists although some are both, content and process experts. For example, I am a family mediator and in addition to my professional training in mediation, I have a background in family systems, adolescent development, family substance abuse, child abuse and neglect, etc.

The Association of Conflict Resolution is a major professional organization for mediators. You can find a lot of information at that site (http://www.acrnet.org/). "

482 weeks ago @ Diane Dimond - Lawsuits Don't Have to... · 0 replies · +1 points

Facebook Friend Michelle Bart writes:

"Wow, should have seen this 2 years ago...Arbitration almost 2 years stinks. Thanks for the information, Diane"

482 weeks ago @ Diane Dimond - Lawsuits Don't Have to... · 0 replies · +1 points

Facebook Friend Karen Van Vactor writes:

" Like it!"

482 weeks ago @ Diane Dimond - Lawsuits Don't Have to... · 0 replies · +1 points

Facebook Friend Gabriel Dayan writes:

" It makes perfect sense. Lawyers who appear to be at each others throats in the courtroom are often the best of friends outside that environment. Also, a typical long threatening letter full of strong legal points will often conclude with: "With warmest regards, I do remain, yours very truly and sincerely."

482 weeks ago @ Diane Dimond - Lawsuits Don't Have to... · 0 replies · +1 points

Facebook Friend Andrea Mikulin Winters Kalbfleisch writes:

" What a novel approach to law - constructive instead of destructive!"

482 weeks ago @ Diane Dimond - Lawsuits Don't Have to... · 0 replies · +1 points

The man I quoted in the story, Lee Jay Berman, who runs a big mediation concern in LA is not a lawyer. He informs me that many mediators are not - that its two different skill sets.
I guess the point here is that those clients who seek out Collaborative Law lawyers are already in a mindset of non-confrontational problem solving. I wonder what would happen, Lady Litigator, if you took out a yellow pages ad touting your training in Colllaborative Law? I wonder if you'd attract less ego-driven clientele?

482 weeks ago @ Diane Dimond - Lawsuits Don't Have to... · 2 replies · +1 points

Lady Litigator - absolutely right! But we lay people take our cues from the "legal beagles" don't we? To me collaborative law is different than "plain" mediation because the facilitator sitting at the table KNOWS THE LAW - PRACTICES LAW and knows the best, fastest way to settle something so that all parties are protected. Mediators, as necessary and good as they are, are only looking for the compromise points.

I think collaborative law practice interests me because its a paradigm shift in thinking - not just for the warring parties but for the lawyers too. I'm always for finding a new way to accomplish something. And you have to admit, Lady Litigator, that our legal system could use a boot in the butt in several different areas - from legal services to court systems to the prosecutor's office - oh, don't get me started!