Listening With Compassion

Two attorneys in Portland recently asked me to mediate a divorce case. They told me I was their choice, because, in their words, “This was a case where their clients needed a mediator to listen to them.” These lawyers are highly respected in Portland, but their remark made me stop. Although I didn’t say it out loud, I wanted to ask: When do clients not need a mediator t ...read more

Divorce Doors

What should I do? Who should I see? Where do I go? Should I see the lawyer my sister recommended? Or contact the mediator my friend saw? Who would my therapist recommend? What will a Google search turn up? And so you walk in a door. It may be only much later that you realize that there were other doors you could have opened, and how important it was to have chosen the right doo ...read more

Change of Direction

My wife, Jane Bell, was the first person to suggest I might have an aptitude for mediation. She has a great talent in general for “reading” people, and she knew that for many years I was interested helping people in some capacity beyond the traditional role of a trial lawyer. While I was flattered that she thought I might have a knack for resolving disputes, I wasn’t yet able to hear the m ...read more

First Light

It was a typical gloomy Portland day in early winter of 1992, and I was sitting at my desk with trial notebooks piled high, when the light came on the first time. My calendar was chock full of upcoming depositions and trials involving car accidents and personal injury cases, but my mind was bursting with thoughts about my first family law case. It wasn’t a conscious thought so much  ...read more