Wednesday, April 29, 2021

Collaborative Practice Comes to Israel

The first set of trainings in interdisciplinary team collaborative practice will take place in Tel Aviv, Israel in mid-May, 2009. Co-sponsored by the Israeli Ministry of Justice and the Israeli Bar Association, with additional funding from the U.S. State Department, this training is expected to draw as many as 75 participants (lawyers and mental health professionals).

There will be two short educational workshops prior to the trainings, for interested people working in the field of divorce conflict resolution, including lawyers, judges, mediators, and mental health professionals, the first in Tel Aviv on May 7, and the second in Haifa on May 10.

The Israeli Bar Association will host two three day team trainings, which are to take place on May 13-15, and May 17-19. I will be presenting these trainings with my colleague from Vancouver, B.C., psychologist Yuval Berger. Yuval gave an introductory talk to Israeli lawyers some months ago and stirred up initial interest in collaborative practice. In addition, Haifa lawyer Michal Kaempfer has started the first Israeli collaborative practice group after attending two events in Ireland in May, 2008---the Cork Collaborative Conference, followed by a two-day training of mine in Dublin sponsored by the Legal Aid Board of Ireland. We are expecting that collaborative practice will be off to a running start in Israel after these two trainings produce a cadre of trained collaborative professionals ready to work with clients.

Wednesday, April 15, 2021

Mediators and Collaborative Lawyers Working Together

How Collaborative Lawyers Can Work with Mediators [Book Excerpt]

During the course of a collaborative law case, all participants need to roll up their sleeves and share information, clarify and communicate goals and priorities, brainstorm possible resolutions, devise and evaluate proposals, and—finally—reach agreements. Sometimes it is necessary for the collaborative lawyer to work with a mediator. Here are some tips for how they can work together.

Collaborative Law: Achieving Effective Resolution in Divorce without Litigation, Second Edition

Excerpted from Collaborative Law: Achieving Effective Resolution in Divorce without Litigation, Second Edition
By Pauline H. Tesler

Table of Contents PDF | Introduction PDF | Learn more about the book »

Collaborative lawyers make great consulting lawyers in cases where mediation is the clients' choice of primary conflict-resolution mode. The collaborative participation agreement is modified to reflect this role change, and the collaborative lawyers remain barred from participating in litigation.

Collaborative lawyers can strengthen and enrich the mediation process itself. In mediations where the clients' consulting lawyers are in the room participating, mediators who develop good working relationships with collaborative lawyers can enjoy the advantages of having two other professionals in the room who know about interest-based conflict resolution, whose legal advice will be built into the negotiation process, and who are skilled at out-of-the-box problem solving.

If a collaborative case runs into problems, a "meta-mediator" can help everyone get through the challenging phase. Sometimes a "perfect storm" of challenging clients and challenging issues can stall a collaborative negotiation. If a mediator who understands the collaborative process is brought in to hold responsibility for managing the negotiating session, the lawyers can be free to work more intensively with their respective clients. And, a third conflict-resolution professional in the room can sometimes help undo logjams in creative problem solving.

Where new mates or extended family are undermining the collaborative process behind the scenes, a mediator can help return the process to integrity and transparency. A mediator can work with the outside family members and help them or the client bring any legitimate interest involving them to the collaborative table for constructive discussion.

If the collaborative lawyers run into difficulties with one another, a mediator can help. A mediator who understands the collaborative process can be an effective facilitator or mentor who can help the two professionals communicate about what is going wrong, and help them get back into a more helpful mode with the clients.

[ABA Blog excerpt created by Kurt Harzke] |

Tuesday, April 7, 2021

Neuro-Collaboration at Pepperdine

Neuro-Collaboration: How New Perspectives from the Neurosciences Can Enhance Your Collaborative Conflict Resolution Skills

Faculty: Pauline H. Tesler, M.A., J.D., and Thomas Lewis, M.D.

Approved for 18 hours of California CFLS (Certified Family Law Specialist) credit, including 18 credit hours for psychological and counseling aspects of family law

Intended for both beginning and experienced collaborative lawyers, this course integrates cutting-edge neuroscientific models of human emotion and behavior with the practical realities of interdisciplinary team collaborative divorce practice. We will describe, illustrate and demonstrate how a fuller understanding of the neurobiological forces that influence us and our clients can help them and their professional team participate more effectively in the collaborative process.

The course will provide participants with a detailed and practical understanding of how grief, trauma, and other strong emotional processes associated with the loss of the primary intimate pair bond can impair our clients' ability to participate effectively in conflict resolution. We will also examine how a number of powerful pro-social emotional mechanisms, including trust, empathy, and the drive toward fairness can, if properly recruited, enhance the likelihood of arriving at a resolution that is durable and fully satisfying to the parties.

The focus is on taking theoretical and research-related understandings from neurobiology, neuroeconomics, social psychology, and neuroethics, and applying them to improve the quality and effectiveness of our work as collaborative conflict resolution professionals.

What you will learn:

· The degree to which our internalized collaborative conflict resolution model is based on an inaccurate understanding of how human beings actually make decisions, and how that misperception can contribute to sub-optimal process management in collaborative cases.

· The impact of grief and loss on the physical and mental health of members of divorcing families, and how these processes affect client functionality in the setting of collaborative conflict resolution.

· How collaborative professionals can build better empathic skills for enhanced awareness of the emotional states of our clients (and colleagues), while avoiding being flooded by the emotions of others, and maintaining the balance required for effective conflict resolution work.

· The inherent power dynamics of the lawyer-client relationship, even in collaborative practice, and how this reality influences client choices in ways not readily apparent to either lawyer or client.

· How unnoticed power dynamics on the collaborative divorce professional team can decrease positive functionality of the collaborative conflict resolution system, and how to make such systems more functional.

· How the representation of language and metaphor in the brain influences client behavior, and how careful attention to the metaphorical processes at play can help us manage conflict and facilitate resolution.

· What we can learn from neuroeconomics about "getting to the deal" how apparently rational decisions are influenced by emotion, "priming" and other non-rational factors, and how we can use that reality to support constructive conflict resolution.

Pauline Tesler is a leading pioneer in the international collaborative law movement. She cofounded the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals and was its first president. She is also cofounder and first coeditor of The Collaborative Review. Her extensive writings include Collaborative Law: Achieving Effective Resolution in Divorce Without Litigation, 2nd ed. (ABA 2008) and Collaborative Divorce: The Revolutionary New Way to Restructure Your Family, Resolve Legal Issues, and Move on with Your Life (HarperCollins, 2006). Recipient of the first ABA Lawyer as Problem Solver award in 2002, Ms. Tesler has trained thousands of lawyers and other professionals in effective collaborative practice, in North America, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand, and is about to offer initial trainings in Israel.

Thomas Lewis is a physician, writer, and an expert on the intersection between neuroscience and human experience. An assistant clinical professor at the University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine and professor at the Fromm Institute at the University of San Francisco, Dr. Lewis has written and lectured extensively on the neuroscience of human relationships, emotion, and empathy, for audiences ranging from the American Academy for the Advancement of Science to Google University. He is one of the authors of A General Theory of Love (Random House, 2000), described by the Washington Post as "a rare example of the fusing of scientific rigor with literary eloquence." Dr. Lewis has consulted with major motion picture productions and the California Shakespeare Festival on the science of emotion and its role in the dramatic arts. His most recent course at the University of San Francisco has explored the neural basis of human morality.

Pauline Tesler

Video Interviews with Collaborative Law Pioneers

At Cutting Edge, you'll find well-produced interviews with many of the early and current leaders in the collaborative law movement and other conflict resolution and peacemaking practices. The blog has a wealth of other resources about conflict resolution, too.

Kim Wright interviewed me in October, 2008. You can find links to the edited video (in five segments of about ten minutes each--YouTube size) at: