Why I do this work
As a former litigator - I began my career in the litigation department of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton and Garrison - I know first hand the system’s inefficiencies, the utter waste of resources, the inevitable exacerbation of conflict, and the emotional and economic toll on the litigants.
When the litigants are people who at least once loved each other, and who may have children together, and now find themselves pitted against one another as adversaries, the result is invariably appalling and tragic.
When I taught full time at Brooklyn Law School, I grew increasingly uncomfortable with teaching my students how to “make an argument,” or, as they say in politics, “spin” the facts. I also became restless in academia, wanting to return to the practice of law, although I was clear that I did not wish to return to litigation. In 1994, I discovered mediation, which I saw as a challenging and intriguing blend of law and psychology (had I not become a lawyer, I would have become a clinical psychologist) far more like counseling than litigation, and far more suited to that part of my personality I wished to encourage.
Six years after I began mediating, I co-founded and became a charter member of the board of the New York Association of Collaborative Professionals. It has been clear to me for some time that a significant number of people who are drawn to mediation are not great candidates for a process which requires that they do the “heavy lifting” of negotiation. These people need a “conflict ally,” an advocate who can speak for them and with them without being adversarial or engaging in strategic posturing.
People often say to me, “I don’t know how you do it.” I work with people who are going through a uniquely painful and vulnerable time in their life. As challenging and at times as frustrating as this work can be, it is gratifying to know that I am helping shield my clients from the ravages of the adversary system, while offering them a better way to a new chapter in their life.
- Advanced Practitioner Member, Family Law Section, Association of Conflict Resolution (9% of members have attained Advanced Practitioner status.)
- Accredited Member, New York State Council on Divorce Mediation (Fewer than 20% of members have been accredited.)
- Accredited Member, Family and Divorce Mediation Council of Greater New York.
- Certified Mediator in Brooklyn Mediation Center and Safe Horizon in Manhattan.
- Member, Referral panel of New York State Supreme Court, divorce mediation, all issues.
- Member, Referral Panel, Mediator, Association of the Bar of the City of New York.
- Member, Family Law Section, New York State Bar Association
- Member, International Association of Collaborative Professionals
- Member, New York Association of Collaborative Professionals (co-founder, charter member of the Board, former chairman of Training Committee).
- Adjunct Professor of Divorce Mediation and Collaborative Divorce Practice, Brooklyn Law School, since 1996.
- Adjunct Professor of Divorce Mediation and Divorce Mediation Clinic, Ackerman Institute for the Family, since 1997.
- Visiting professor of mediation, summer program in Berlin, Germany, Touro Law School. Spring 2008.
- Visiting Adjunct Professor, Divorce Mediation, Cardozo Law School, Fall 2007.
- Mediation trainer with Center for Mediation in Law.
- Visiting Clinical Professor of Mediation, Fall semester, Columbia Law School, 2002.
- Lead trainer for divorce mediation program sponsored by the Unified Court System, New York County, Spring 1999.
- Mediation trainer, Cardozo Law School - Montefiore Medical Center, Certificate Program in Bioethics and the Medical Humanites. 1995-2009.
- Divorce Mediation trainer of English Barristers and Solicitors in Cambridge and London. Fall 1995-Present