Inside Out: Friedman’s Self-Reflection for Conflict Professionals

Over the past year, a group of professionals involved with divorcing couples (lawyers, mediators, therapists, and financial planners) met once a month in my office. Sitting in a circle, we talked about the cases in which we had become angry or frustrated with our clients or with another lawyer on the case. We shared times when we were fearful or confused and wanted to help but had no idea how more

Evenhandedness: Lessons from a Couples Counselor

Mediators strive to be fair and impartial. Working with clients without bias, neither inclining toward nor moving away from them, is essential to the mediation process. If we fail at this, we lose the trust and confidence of one or both clients and destroy the integrity of the mediation process. And yet . . . since we are human beings, we mediators come fully equipped with biases, preju more

Collaborative Dialogues: Part 2

What Collaborative Couples Therapy Can Teach Mediators and Lawyers In my last post (, I summarized the basic theory and practices of Collaborative Couples Therapy offered by psychologist Dan Wile ( Today, I want to explore whether a practice designed to help couples more

Turning Harmful Conversations into Collaborative Dialogues: Part 1

Collaborative Couples Therapy and Dr. Daniel Wile I recently completed a workshop on Collaborative Couples Therapy offered by psychologist Dan Wile ( in Oakland. Surrounded by psychologists and therapists who dedicate their professional lives to helping couples improve their marriages, I was the only professional whose focus is to help couples dissolve their marriage more

Collaborative Divorce Comes of Age in Portland

At long last, Collaborative Law is finding its legs in Portland. The number of professionals offering a non-adversarial option for divorcing couples is growing rapidly. There are an increasing number of lawyers, mental health professionals, child specialists, and financial planners specializing in collaborative law practice, including some of Portland’s most prominent family law a more

Mindfulness in Law: Opening New Doors

Today, an increasing number of lawyers and mediators choose to receive meditation training in order to cultivate reflection and mindfulness. The demands and stress of conflict resolution are high. Reflective practices, which help professionals stop and replenish, are a welcome development. Also, gaining greater self-knowledge is essential to understanding and overcoming our biase more

Mindfulness: Just the Next Trend?

Mindfulness and meditation are getting so much attention these days that some people are dismissing them as “just the next trend.” I too am not a fan of the commercialization of mindfulness. I don’t like to see people or organizations latching on to mindfulness and meditation just to market themselves. But as a lawyer-mediator who practices meditation, I suggest more

10 Steps to Better Settlements for Mediation Clients

“I know exactly how this case has to be settled.” A veteran lawyer (I’ll call him Greg) made this comment as he walked into my office. He was there for a divorce mediation. He set down his bag and iPad and outlined the terms he insisted were necessary to reach an agreement. In rapid fire he ticked off exactly how he thought each issue should be settled — custody, more