July 18, 2019

July 2019 - Collaborative Law Committee

Message from the Co-Chairs

Collaborative Law is continuing to evolve, both within its original divorce context and the new areas into which it has been expanding. As a dynamic, flexible approach to structured negotiations, it focuses clients on their interests while helping to focus lawyers on advocacy in problem solving.  Our articles this month give a sense of some of the new, creative thinking among practitioners.

If you are trained in Collaborative Law, or just interested in learning more about it, the Collaborative Law Committee wants YOU as a member. Membership in our Committee is free with your Dispute Resolution section dues, so join us. Our mission of expanding the understanding and use of Collaborative Law is carried out through energetic member participation in our sub-committees and informative bimonthly conference calls. Please visit our Committee’s ABA Connect page to learn more about our work and how to be involved, or contact one of us.

Jeffrey Fink

Irwin Kuhn

Featured Articles

Collaborating with Listening in Mind
By Anita Dorczak

So what does “listening” mean anyway? It is usually viewed as a passive act, just a small part of human communication. As lawyers we focus on speaking and persuasive arguments. Listening training is not required at most universities or continuing education programs. Listening, however, is different from hearing. Read more

Collaborative Law, Partnerships and Prenups
By Jeffrey N. Fink

Several years ago, I spoke on a few conference panels about expanding the use of collaborative law techniques to contract preparation, particularly relationship-heavy contracts like prenuptial agreements and partnership agreements. It was all theoretical. The speakers on the panels were being creative to try to provoke discussion. Nobody on the panel had actually done one. Read more

Collaborative Practice -- What’s Beneath the Tip of the Iceberg
By Laurie Israel

I’ve been practicing collaborative divorce in Massachusetts for over 19 years. (I was in the first training class in Boston in April 2000.) Even so, I find that most people are still unfamiliar with collaborative practice (CP). And when they are aware of it, one of their primary misconceptions is that collaborative practice means weakness. Read more

Expanding the Collaborative Process Beyond Family Law
By Lawrence R. Maxwell, Jr.

The collaborative dispute resolution process is not just for family law matters. After seeing the benefits that the collaborative process brings to resolving family law matters quickly and economically, creative lawyers around the country are using the collaborative approach to resolve disputes arising in many areas of civil law. Read more

Re-imagining collaborative law, as well as dispute resolution itself 
By Michael Zeytoonian

I first heard about collaborative law (CL) in 2002 as it began to spread around Massachusetts. It is an inspiring, rational approach to resolving disputes and it was good getting to know and learn from local people involved in teaching, promoting and using CL. Read more

Leadership Nominations

The Dispute Resolution Section membership will vote on new members of the Section council and executive committee on August 10th. The Section’s Nominations Committee submitted the slate of leadership nominations in June.

Read the full Nominations Committee Report

17th Annual Advanced Mediation and Advocacy Skills Institute

South Texas College of Law Houston
Houston, TX
November 15-16, 2019

This two-day interactive institute features rare opportunities to learn from some of the leading mediators and advocates in North America. Each plenary session panel features an expert mediator, in-house counsel, and a skilled outside attorney, discussing each phase of the mediation process. Small group discussions led by experts in the field follow the plenary session panels. The opportunity for mediators and advocates to interact in small facilitated groups provides a unique environment to enhance your skill, knowledge and understanding of the mediation process.

Register Now

Save the Date - Arbitration Institute

March 9-10, 2020
Arizona State University Sandra Day O’Conner School of Law
Phoenix, AZ

New Orleans 2020 - Annual Spring Conference

Save the Date for the Section of Dispute Resolution’s Spring Conference
New Orleans Sheraton
April 22 – 25, 2020

Join the Spring Conference Countdown community on ABA Connect. We will post conference updates to this community, including how to submit conference program proposals, as well as registration, program details, plenary presenter announcements, special events, and more. To receive updates from the Countdown Community you must join the Community.

Follow this link (Join the Spring Conference Countdown Community) and then click on “Join Community” in the right-hand corner. 

Spring Conference Request For Proposals

The ABA Section of Dispute Resolution is now accepting proposals for programs for the 2020 Spring Conference in New Orleans on April 22-25, 2020.

Program proposals must be submitted by Monday, September 2nd at 5 pm ET.

The 2020 conference will be an excellent opportunity to share and learn innovative tools and techniques for successful conflict resolution and prevention. The conference theme – Innovation, Improvisation, and Inspiration – will explore the new techniques, technologies and methodologies that are being developed and used by dispute resolution advocates, neutrals, and legal educators.

The conference will begin on Wednesday, with the Symposium on ADR in the Courts, Section Meetings, and special events. General conference sessions, committee meetings, and many exciting activities will take place on Thursday and Friday. The conference will conclude with the Legal Educators’ Colloquium on Saturday. Throughout the conference we will take advantage of New Orleans opportunities for fun, adventure, dining, and networking.

Learn about how to Submit a Program Proposal for 2020.

Ethical Guidance for Mediators

The ABA Section of Dispute Resolution Committee on Mediator Ethical Guidance provides advisory responses to requests for ethical guidance based on the American Bar Association/American Arbitration Association/Association for Conflict Resolution Model Standards of Conduct for Mediators (2005).  The scope of the Committee is limited to the consideration of ethical issues pertaining to mediation.

Submit an Ethics Inquiry to the Committee on Mediator Ethical Guidance

Read the Advisory Opinions Issued by the Committee in the Library of the Dispute Resolution Ethics “Open Forum” Connect Community. 

ABA Representation in Mediation Competition

Registration for the 2019-2020 Representation in Mediation Competition for law students will open in the fall. The ABA is currently recruiting law schools to serve as regional hosts for the competition. The regionals will take place in February and March, 2020, and the national finals will be in New Orleans on April 22-23, 2020.

Visit the Representation in mediation competition web site.

New this year: Join the ABA Representation in Mediation Competition Connect Community for updates about the competition schedule, rules, registration, and more. You do not need to be an ABA member to join the community, but you will need to create an ABA login. View the ABA Connect Community for the Representation in Mediation Competition.

ABA Membership – Complimentary Group memberships

ABA members can now join the Law Practice, Solo, Small Firms, and the General Practice Divisions for free. Try out these ABA groups and access their exclusive content to advance your practice.  


July Section Webinars

Transformative Mediation - Theory and Practice
July 24
1 PM

Dan Simon will explain the philosophy and methods used in Transformative Mediation that can maximize the value of the process and lead to settlements that parties feel genuinely good about.

This method provides constant, consistent support for the parties' process of communicating and decision-making. Party self-determination remains the focus in each moment of the mediation. Mediation research suggests that this approach leads to the best outcomes on all levels.

Dan Simon, Simon Mediation
Tara West, CUNY School of Professional Studies

Register Now

When Emotions ARE the Issue
July 31
1 PM

The problems we will address are fairly common but are of the type that have stumped more than one mediator, particularly when the main impediment to settlement is counsel.

When faced with conflict, there are 5 strategies to deal with it:

  • Ignore
  • Win-Lose (exerting control and "win" over our opponent)
  • Lose-Win (acquiesce and "give in" to the other side)
  • Lose-Lose (agree on a compromise where both parties give something up)
  • Win-Win (those involved in the conflict work together to discover a win-win solution ? a collaborative solution)

Linda A. Michler, Simon Mediation
Daniel Yamshon, ADR Services International

Register Now

Dispute Resolution Events

Save the Date!
Northwest Dispute Resolution Conference
March 26 and 27, 2020
Seattle, Washington
Conference Information and RFP at