Training in other jurisdictions teaches us many things. Last month I gave two workshops to groups of collaborative family lawyers and mediators that were among the most rewarding courses I have taught.
The focus of the training was to explore how the practice of “screening”, for power imbalances in ADR processes, can be applied to collaborative process.
I was fortunate to be working with some of Britain’s best family lawyers, including those belonging to the two host law firms, FLIP (Family Law in Partnership) in Central London, and Russell-Cooke Solicitors, in Kingston.
What fantastic and keen students! Lawyers are drawn to collaborative practice and mediation because they are keenly interested in providing the best possible process for their clients. And, like me, they are often “process geeks”. The groups in the UK exemplified this attitude to the practice of family law. They were thoughtful, reflective and, most importantly, open to considering new ideas and ways of doing things without being defensive about their current practices.
The training elicited a lot of good discussion about how mediators and collaborative lawyers can improve their processes to ensure that they are providing the best possible dispute resolution process for their clients, in the most effective manner.
I received wonderful feedback from the participants in both groups, and the training has sparked debate and discussion on LinkedIn groups as well as at the Consensus Scotland Collaborative Conference that I subsequently attended.
There is so much more to consider; I am grateful to my colleagues in the UK for giving me this opportunity to explore this important work with them.