Hilary Linton honoured with OBA ADR Award for Excellence

Hilary LintonRiverdale Mediation’s President and founder, Hilary Linton, is the recipient of the 2014 Ontario Bar Association’s ADR Award for Excellence.

Hilary is honoured to accept this award. Since she left her litigation partnership and began teaching and practising family mediation and arbitration 15 years ago, she has aimed to be leader in establishing the best practices in family law ADR.

“Being a mediator helped me realize how important it is for family law clients to have a safe, non-judging and balanced process of self-determination,” she says.

“Of critical importance in family law is a triage process called “screening”, where the mediator (and mediator-arbitrator) first meets the parties to identify, assess and manage the balance of negotiation and participation power and risk of harm coming to one of them, a child or the mediator.”

“Family mediators, lawyers and arbitrators can deliver better processes and help save lives by undertaking this important step,” she says.

Join us in congratulating Hilary at the award presentation reception and dinner hosted by the OBA Alternative Dispute Section on September 30, 2014 at 5:30 pm. Tickets for the event are available by email: registrations@oba.org.

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Peter Halls Named “Access to Justice All-Star” for Self-Represented Litigants

Peter Halls, Access to Justice All-Star for Self-Represented LitigantsFor self-represented litigants, the court process can prove to be an intimidating and overwhelming experience. That’s why resources like the Family Law Information Centre (FLIC), operated by our sister company, mediate393 inc., are so valuable for those attempting to navigate the system.

Peter Halls works as a Court Support Worker in the FLIC operated by mediate393 here at the Toronto Superior Court of Justice at 393 University Avenue. We would likely to warmly congratulate Peter for being named the newest “Access to Justice All-Star” by the National Self-Represented Litigants Project. Working with the Information Referral Coordinator on the front line, Peter is the first person self-represented litigants encounter when they enter the FLIC, and he is always glad to help with any questions or concerns about the Family Law process.

A wonderful profile of Peter has been posted on the NSRLP website – check it out!

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Ruminations from Across the Pond: Felicity Shedden on “Are we ready for Med-Arb?”

Felicity Shedden on med-arbIn February of this year, Riverdale Mediation was happy to welcome UK family lawyer Felicity Shedden as a guest in our practice. For a week, Felicity sat in on mediations and arbitrations, getting a feel for the ADR climate in Toronto.

Felicity has now authored a compelling article on her time in Toronto for The Review, a UK-based dispute resolution periodical. Entitled, “Are we ready for Med-Arb?”, Felicity’s piece is a thoughtful reflection on the growth of med-arb as a trusted ADR process in the Toronto context, and the hesitance of UK professionals to adopt this process.

Felicity notes that, for many ADR professionals across the pond, med-arb seems unviable. They ask: how can a single person act in two such different roles – that of both the mediator and the arbitrator? Felicity, on the other hand, seems thoroughly convinced of the utility of the med-arb process after her observations in Toronto. She writes,

“My answer to those people is that Med-Arb, at its best, really works. Clients like it. They get a single, streamlined, and efficient process. They have the opportunity for a self-determined outcome, but with the certainty of a conclusion one way or another, within a reasonable timescale and a flexible framework.”

Well said, Felicity! Here at Riverdale, mediation-arbitration is an increasingly popular dispute resolution mechanism for people whose disputes are ongoing and highly conflicted. We believe med-arb to be a good process choice for parties who want a private process that is tailored to meet their needs.

We are thrilled to have been featured in Felicity’s article, and to be able to demonstrate med-arb as a viable and desirable process for professionals working in different contexts.

You can follow Felicity on Twitter: @FShedden

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Training Update: Basic Family Negotiation & Mediation, May 2014

Basic Family Negotiation & Mediation ParticipantsWe finished off our spring session of accreditation courses last month with “Basic Family Negotiation & Mediation.” For 5 days during the first week of May, more than 20 aspiring mediators joined us for a dynamic and challenging course.

Instructors Hilary Linton, Elizabeth Hyde, and Christine Kim were hugely impressed by the breadth of knowledge and inquiry brought by the diverse participants.

Guest speakers Seema Jain, Richard Teicher, Cindy Dymond, Daniella Wald, and Joel Skapinker lent their expert opinions, alongside input from experienced mediation coaches. Through interactive discussions, case studies, and role plays, participants engaged in topics ranging from designing the mediation process, to including the voice of children, to mediating property support issues.Basic Family Negotiation & Mediation Participants

Our course participants were also impressed with the quality of the course: 85% rated the course as “excellent.” What they said:

  • “This course equipped me to design the mediation process, and gave me broader understanding of real world of mediation.” – Archana Medhekar
  • “Riverdale’s approach to mediation: fair, transparent, facilitative, thorough, intentional.” – Joelle Therriault
  • “Great course. You packed a lot in.” – Steve Benmor
  • “Best mediation course I have taken. A Cadillac product!” – Ed Pundyk

Basic Family Negotiation & Mediation ParticipantsOur next course for accreditation is “Screening for Family Violence, Abuse, and Power Imbalances, which is being offered October 7-9, 2014. Our full accreditation series will be offered again starting January of 2015. Thanks to all who contributed to successful spring session!

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Workshop on High Conflict and Power Imbalance Screening to follow National Family Law Conference

APFM Power Imbalance TrainingOn July 19-20, the Association of Professional Family Mediators (APFM) is offering a 2-day Advanced Training on “Power Imbalance in Family Mediation” in Seattle, Washington.

Riverdale Mediation’s President and founder, Hilary Linton, will
Reimer Linton Eddy Power Imbalance Trainingbe a trainer for the program alongside Claudette Reimer from the Barrie Mediation Centre, and Bill Eddy from San Diego. (This is the second time that Riverdale will be partnering with Bill Eddy this year: on June 2-3 we are offering a 2-day seminar on “New Ways for Mediation of High Conflict Disputes” with him in Toronto!)

The APFM program will include seminar presentations, demonstrations and mediation practice exercises. Topics will include:

  • Screening for power imbalances, including domestic violence, parenting interference and financial knowledge imbalances;
  • Designing protections for a safe and balanced mediation process; and
  • Managing the mediation with high-conflict participants.

There will be on-going opportunities for discussion and practice. With more difficult clients appearing in mediation and more court systems referring cases to mediation, these are skills we all need to strengthen.

For more information, contact Nancy Kaplan: nancy@cruinstitute.org or 425-829-6637.

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BIFF, EAR and other effective conflict resolution skills

Bill Eddy Conflict Resolution

Bill Eddy (centre left) with roster mediators Christine Kim (far left) and Jared Norton (far right), and mediate393 Executive Director Elizabeth Hyde (centre right).

The mediate393 roster members and guests just spent 2 days listening and practicing the skills and techniques of Bill Eddy.

With over 1500 mediations to his credit, Bill is a master at dealing with high conflict and personality disordered clients.

His methods for dealing with this client population are ones that we can all integrate into our own practices and mediation styles easily. Simple phrases like “you may be right” have a powerful effect on clients as we are acknowledging we have heard their story but are not agreeing outright.

Bill’s approach to conflict resolution is alarmingly calm, and both experienced and new mediators in the audience walked away with some refreshing new ideas that can be used today.

Participants said:

“His approach, knowledge, and ability to engage all participants is incredible. He is so good at synthesizing information and clarifying how to implement the New Ways process.” – Jackie Marshall

“Bill Eddy is a thoughtful, intentional, and engaging facilitator who provides an accessible process for mediating high conflict cases. The training was well-paced, provided useful resources and tools for immediate practice.” – Joelle Therriault

“I would recommend this course to others and the supplemental materials as well.” – Caroline Felstiner

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