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Why We Collaborate (Part 1 of 5)

By Ty Supancic, Esquire

One of the primary goals of The Law Collaborative, LLP, is to become masters and innovators of Consensual Dispute Resolution techniques and practices. In order to develop and promote Consensual Dispute Resolution so that it may become the mainstream, we must change our vocabulary as well as our approach.

We purposefully use the term Consensual Dispute Resolution (CDR) instead of the more prevalent Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) because the word “alternative” is a pejorative. It suggests that ADR methods are secondary or tertiary choices to “regular” or traditional dispute resolution. “Regular” suggests mainstream, preferred, and superior. But anybody who has ever been involved in “regular” dispute resolution (litigation) can attest to the fact that, while it may be mainstream, it is not superior. Oftentimes both parties are worse off after participating in the traditional dispute resolution process, and the only people enriched are the lawyers.

Competent and ethical attorneys should always consider CDR methods and approaches first. Litigation should always be considered the last resort as it is usually the most expensive and least predictable avenue. We believe that in the near future, litigation will be considered the alternative dispute resolution method.

One of the most promising developments in the field of CDR is Collaborative Law, a specialized form of con-joint mediation involving two attorneys. This article is not intended as a primer on Collaborative Law; many far more eloquent practitioners have already provided these. For a short list, go to the Articles section of our website.

Nor is this article intended to persuade you that Collaborative Law is the way of the future. Do not bother reading further unless you believe that Collaborative Law holds great promise. If you need convincing, I would refer you to the case studies on our website, or those on the websites of any of our colleagues. The proof of the pudding is in the eating as they say. Instead, this article is intended to discuss and reflect on what can be done to improve our collaborative skills and instincts.

Read more…

Helping Families

Just a reminder about tomorrow’s program, Helping Families.  For more information, click here!

Also, we recommend this excellent podcast interview of Rosalinda O’Neil talking about how to tell your kids you’re getting a divorce.


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Rosalinda O’Neil holds a bachelor’s degree in finance from the University of Miami and a master’s in counseling psychology from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.  She is a California Licensed Marriage Family Therapist with expertise in addiction, conflict resolution, partner dynamics, relationship, trauma and achieving success.  For more information about Ms. O’Neill click here, or you can check out some of her publications here.

Helping Families, This Saturday

The State Bar Family Law Section CDR/ADR Standing Committee (South)
Dispute Resolution Services, Inc.,
Los Angeles County Bar Association and LACBA Family Law Section
invite you to attend our Spring Symposium

HELPING FAMILIES: New Directions in Consensual Dispute Resolution
Cutting edge theories, techniques, tactics and tools

Saturday, April 10, 2010, 8:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
Pepperdine University School of Law

If you practice mediation or collaborative law, are a mental health professional, coach, financial specialist, or family law attorney with an interest in expanding your knowledge of the latest issues in consensual dispute resolution and in developing your skills to best serve the needs of families, this program is for you:

  • Presiding Judge Marjorie Steinberg will discuss CDR and LA County practices
  • Renowned child custody mediator and child psychologist, Dr. Donald Saposnek will address the ethics and practice of “Bringing Children into the Process”
  • Judge Mark Juhas will discuss the Elkins Report and other responses to the difficulties of bringing children into the process
  • A panel of adult Children of Divorce will present the divorce experience from the eyes of the child
  • Former litigators will share the difficulties and methods of making “The Internal Mind Shift” to practice Consensual Dispute Resolution as their primary practice
  • Experienced CDR providers will give practical tools for keeping CDR on track “Between the Sessions”
  • Financial Experts, Career Counselors and Mental Health Specialists will offer a “Tool Box for Post-Divorce Planning”
  • You will hear from attorneys Leslie Ellen Shear about children’s participation in custody decision-making and Fern Topas Salka about how other jurisdictions are putting families first

The price for this program is $125.00.  Student rates are $45.
A continental breakfast, as well as light snacks, will be provided throughout the event.

To sign up, contact the Los Angeles County Bar Member Services at 213/896-6560 and mention the LACBA program number 10832.  Or go to http://onlinestore.lacba.org/calendar/index.cfm?fuseaction=ViewCalendarEvent&CalendarEventID=31<http://onlinestore.lacba.org/calendar/index.cfm?fuseaction=ViewCalendarEvent&CalendarEventID=3117>

CLE and BBS credits will be given for attendance.

For more information about this program, go to www.cdr4-10-10event.com or contact co-chair of the State Bar Family Law Section on CDR/ADR Standing Committee (South), Fern Topas Salka, at fern@wgn.net

For more information about this program, go to www.cdr4-10-10event.com or contact co-chair the State Bar Family Law Section on CDR/ADR Standing Committee (South), Fern Topas Salka, at fern@wgn.net.

CLE and BBS credits will be given for attendance.

Helping Families – Sat., April 10

The State Bar Family Law Section CDR/ADR Standing Committee (South)
Dispute Resolution Services, Inc.,
Los Angeles County Bar Association and LACBA Family Law Section
invite you to attend our Spring Symposium

HELPING FAMILIES: New Directions in Consensual Dispute Resolution
Cutting edge, theories, techniques, tactics and tools.

Saturday, April 10, 2010, 8:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Pepperdine University School of Law

If you practice mediation or collaborative law, are a mental health professional, coach, financial specialist, or family law attorney with an interest in expanding your knowledge of the latest issues in consensual dispute resolution and in developing your skills to best serve the needs of families, this program is for you.

Presenters will include Judges Marjorie Steinberg and Mark Juhas, renowned child custody mediator and child psychologist, Dr. Donald Saposnek, notable appellate attorney Leslie Ellen Shear, attorney-CDR professionals Fern Topas Salka, Wendy R. Landes, Judith C. Nesburn, Heidi Tuffias, Kathleen Dillon, and Ronald Supancic, collaborative attorneys Joe Spirito, Kim Davidson, and Donna Beck Weaver, financial expert Stephanie Maloney, career counselor Daisy Swan, coaches David Kuroda and Brook Olsen, Ph.D., Andrea Bush, M.F. C.C., Judith Mcleese, and a panel of adult children of divorce.

Pointers will cover how we as attorneys and other divorce support professionals can:

* Ethically and responsibly include the voices of children in the mediation process

* Facilitate the settlement processes between the sessions

* Make the internal shift from litigator to consensual dispute resolution professional

* Help give divorcing families the necessary tools to assist them in establishing their post-separation lives

The price for this program is $125.00. Student prices are available. A continental breakfast as well as light snacks will be provided throughout the event.

To sign up, contact Thee Los Angeles County Bar Member Services at 213/896-6560 and mention the LACBA program number 10832.

For more information about this program, go to www.cdr4-10-10event.com or contact co-chair of the State Bar Family Law Section on CDR/ADR Standing Committee (South), Fern Topas Salka at fern@wgn.net

CLE and BBS credits will be given for attendance.