Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Children's Fire

The Children's Fire is the foundation of Collaborative Law, explained beautifully in the you Tube video called The Children's Fire. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1JchSac-VP0

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Armadillo Races

I went to San Antonio last month for the 14th Annual Forum of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals.  San Antonio is an experience like no other.   While I was strolling down the River Walk, I heard my name called and saw it was Ryan Martin of Nelson heading to the Buckhorn Saloon from whence I had just come.  There are hundreds of dead heads on the walls of the Buckhorn, and the real Bonnie and Clyde getaway car is on display, complete with tons of bullet holes.   I also attended a gun rally at the Alamo where for two hours citizens could wear their guns openly and did not have to conceal their weapons while they talked about how they could wear their guns openly if only they broke away from the United States and the constitution which prohibits them from wearing guns openly.  There were hundreds of loaded assault weapons in people’s hands, kids meandering about.  It seems so strange to me that Americans feel the need to protect themselves from Americans.  When I asked one young man with an automatic assault weapon what he plans to shoot, he said, simply, “Everything.”  San Antonio is wonderfully Mexican, beautiful and warm, although I note today only it is only 4 degrees there.  I rode a long horn steer and was in an armadillo race.  This was my 9th IACP Forum.  It is always so rejuvenating to spend time with like minded professionals from 25 countries.  The theme of the forum this year was “The Power of Collective Wisdom”.  It was a very powerful gathering.  One speaker in particular had a big impact on me when she spoke of conflict being a gift of evolution.  She described how we get excited and motivated when we disagree with another, and that stimulates change, evolution.  I was introduced to a short You Tube film called The Children’s Fire, which has been imprinted on my mind forever.   

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Beginner's Mind

Being a collaborative lawyer means being in a place of continuous learning. You can be sure than any professional listed on the BC Collaborative Roster Society website www.bccollaborativerostersociety.com is committed to constant ongoing training.  I totally enjoy all the learning.  Recently, for instance, I learned that memory is completely unreliable – that we change and recreate memories every time we think them.  You can read an article about this in Discover Magazine by Kathleen McGowan.  All these important bits of information outside the conventional practice of law have changed the way I think about how to help my clients.  For instance, about 10 years ago, I learned that rejection can dramatically reduce a person’s IQ and their ability to reason analytically, while increasing their aggression.  This piece of information changed the way I behave when serving a client who is feeling rejected. I have learned how to better provide legal services through learning how to collaborate with other professionals.  I love learning this way, with others, collaboratively.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Collaborative Lawyers Go To School

Being a collaborative lawyer means constantly improving my skills through continuing education. Highly difficult clients challenge the boundaries and accountability required by the Collaborative process. These cases call for the effective intervention of a highly proficient professional team. Advanced Collaborative practitioners recognize these especially difficult cases as an opportunity to further deepen their skills and maximize the collective wisdom of the team.

In June, I completed the Advanced Mediation 3 course for lawyers.  I also completed a course designed to help collaborative lawyers and mediators screen for family violence.  In that course we learned when one spouse perceives a power imbalance, whether there actually is a power imbalance or not, mediation or collaborative practice will likely best meet that individual’s needs.  This is because the court system is not sensitive to the emotional needs of any litigant.  But a power imbalance in negotiation can be addressed through mediation and collaborative practice by providing a safe place for negotiation to take place. The reason the room is a safe place to negotiate is because:
  1. Each party has their own lawyer at their side;
  2. The lawyers have signed an agreement to never appear for that client in court against the other party, ever;
  3. Each lawyer is also a certified mediator, and the lawyers are using co-mediation skills while providing independent legal advice to their respective clients; and
  4. Mental health coaches are used when needed.
The best training for collaborative professionals is the annual Forum of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals.  At the annual Forum, participants attend a myriad of seminars and network with other Collaborative professionals from around the world.  I look forward to attending my 9th IACP Forum this year.  

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Nelson Collaborative Practice Team Is Growing

“I am currently a practicing social worker, working on my masters in counselling. I recently attended the three day basic training for collaborative professionals at the Collaborative Institute in Phoenix, which is part of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals. I look forward to completing the requirements in order to practice on a collaborative team as a divorce coach and child specialist in the West Kootenay. The collaborative model has the best interests of couples and their children in mind and works to make the best future for the entire family, despite the divorce. I hope the collaborative law option is one that many will consider."      Lisa Machek