The most recent professional development meeting, “Collaborative Law and Mediation Tools and Techniques: A Common Ground” was a product of the joint committee of the MCFM and the Massachusetts Collaborative Law Council chaired by our own Lynn Cooper. The panelists, in addition to Lynn, were Dan Finn, Kate Fanger, Karen Levitt, and Lisa Smith.
The committee was created in order to foster close reciprocal relationships between the organizations – and we are succeeding. As a result of the committee’s efforts, for example, we are now cross-promoting each other’s events.
Being trained in the two disciplines has informed the way I practice both.
What can Collaborative Law teach the mediator? Collaborative Law taught me to provide summary notes to the clients following each mediation. Although some mediators have been doing this for years without any influence from Collaborative Law, it wasn’t until I was trained in Collaborative Law that I understood the effectiveness of this procedure. One of the panelists suggested discussing with mediation clients their goals for the process, a staple at the beginning of the first Collaborative meeting. I haven’t done this yet but I’m considering it.
What can Mediation teach the Collaborative Practitioner? Mediation skills such as listening and reframing are critical for the Collaborative practitioner; in fact, I believe that every Collaborative Practitioner should be required to take a course in mediation.
In any event, I think all of us can agree that the communities have a lot to teach other. I look forward to more of these joint ventures in the future.
From the Family Mediation Quarterly