Divorce is a trying time for everyone who goes through it, but each divorce is also different. Whether the couple has been married for a lengthy span, if there are children involved, if the parting is amicable or the separation is wrought with hostility and resentment. With so many unique concerns to consider, there is not a “one size fits all” approach to divorce. Read more.
Jon Fields will be participating in a Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) program presentation on January 22, 2014 in Boston. He will be a part of a panel presenting on Collaborative Family Law Practice.
Attorney Fields is passionate about the practice of collaborative law, which is continually gaining popularity as an alternative to traditional approaches. To learn more about the collaborative law process, the MCLE panel is a great opportunity to learn from leaders in the field who are excited to share their knowledge and experience. Read more.
October has been a busy month for Fields and Dennis, with both Sheryl Dennis and Jon Fields attending major conferences where they had the opportunity to keep apprised of the latest updates in their fields and share their own knowledge and experience with the legal community.
Jon Fields recently attended the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals Annual Networking and Educational Forum on “The Power of Our Collective Wisdom.” The IACP is an international community of professionals working in law, mental health and finance who work toward creating client-minded ways to settle conflict and resolve problems collaboratively. Now in its 14th year, the Forum welcomes more than 5,000 members from 20 countries
Jon Fields is a proponent of collaborative law and sits as a Director on the Board of the Massachusetts Collaborative Law Council (MCLC). He is skilled in this relatively new form of dispute resolution, and was excited to be a part of the IACP forum, where he had the opportunity to share his expertise with others in the field.
Sheryl Dennis recently attended the Special Needs Trust National Conference in St. Petersburg, Florida. Celebrating its 15th year in 2013, the conference provides an intensive discussion of the predominant concerns regarding special needs trusts. Events at the conference included a wide assortment of knowledgeable speakers presenting on a number of topics, both basic and advanced, of importance to lawyers working in the field.
From tax concerns to living arrangements, the conference is the go-to source for the latest information on estate planning for people with special needs, special needs trusts and trust administration. As one of the top Massachusetts estate planners, Sheryl Dennis makes it a priority to stay informed on the latest news in all aspects of estate planning. Fields and Dennis prides itself on their dedication and unique, compassionate approach to family law – and Sheryl surely benefited from, and enjoyed, her time at the recent conference.
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