Integrative Mediation: Knight in Shining Armor or Black Prince?

Collaborative Practice California Newsletter, 2011
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Excerpt: This is a challenging time for many, perhaps most, collaborative practitioners in California. For many, new collaborative cases have slowed to a trickle. Many practitioners have no collaborative cases at all. Certainly the economy is partly to blame, and perhaps as well our reputation with some for being expensive or inefficient. Whatever the causes of our current state of malaise, the question cries out: what is to be done? Practice groups across the state are tackling this question in a variety of ways, as is CP-Cal, and the innovations that result from these conversations will surely end up benefitting collaborative practice as a whole. However, a number of collaborative practitioners in Marin County are trying something entirely out of the collaborative box that could have a substantial impact on the situation.

What is Mindfulness, and What Does it Have to do with Lawyering?

Marin County Bar Association Newsletter, January, 2012
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Excerpt: Let’s begin by defining our terms. By mindfulness I mean simply taking a mental stepback and observing in a nonjudgmental way what is happening in our inner and outer experience. There’s nothing mystical or weird or woo-woo about it. It’s simply the noticing of our experience while we’re engaged in our experience. You may object: aren’t I always aware of my experience? If I weren’t aware of my experience, I’d be either asleep or unconscious. Or dead. Yes, we’re always aware of our experience. But we are rarely aware that we’re aware. We’re usually so caught up in our experience, so embedded in it or identified with the content of it, that we are on a kind of auto-pilot. So mindfulness isn’t just awareness. It also implies intentionally witnessing our experience as we’re engaging in it.

Law and the Balanced Life: Are They Compatible?

Marin County Bar Association, November 2, 2007
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Excerpt: Having a balanced life requires that we find an inner refuge within the hurricane of daily life, impregnable to the events of both our outer and inner worlds. It’s not about making room for exercise, or a date night once a week with your spouse, although that can be part of it. Meaningful balance is about creating a refuge within ourselves of peace, solace, relaxation, and deep meaningfulness, where we get to be truly ourselves, to truly relax, to feel supported and nurtured and safe. It is the place inside where we know without doubt, “here I cannot be harmed.” True balance is about freedom from domination by external and internal events—not only our cases and clients, our deadlines and task-lists and billable hours, but also our selfdoubts, our fears, and the attacks of our inner critic.

Managing the High-Conflict Litigant

California Courts Review, Fall 2008
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Excerpt: An attractive, well-groomed young woman appears in court at 8:55 a.m. with a ragged sheaf of papers, requesting a temporary restraining order against her landlord. Her declaration states that she rented a room in a sketchy part of town and that the landlord broke in the night before and sexually assaulted her. She suspects he’s been spying on herfor months. She is sick with anxiety and requests an immediate order preventing him from entering her portion of the premises. Accompanying her are volunteers from her church and the local women’s shelter. The landlord stumbles in redfaced and stunned. He looks like he’s coming off a 10-day bender, having spent the final night in a ditch.