family

IACP Conference in Chicago

Posted by Heidi Risser
on November 4, 2019

I just returned from the International Association of Collaborative Professionals (IACP) in Chicago, which was held last week. 

Kendra Erkamaa, a financial neutral from Des Moines, IA, and me at the IACP last week.

I met collaborative lawyers, mediators, mental health providers and financial neutrals from all over the world (Australia, Canada, UK, Spain, France, Germany, Italy, Brazil, Israel, to name a few) as well as from all over the US.  I took classes on the newest ideas in collaborative law and mediation. 

I will be sharing these ideas and learnings on January 9th at the CCDP meeting (time and place TBD). 

I enjoyed getting to know Steven Goldman, a fellow attorney from Fairfax, VA.

One of the classes I took was Collaborative Law and Mediation: On a Collision Course or Merging? I took another class on streamlining the collaborative process, and I even learned about a Flat Fee Collaborative Model being used in Canada.  

Lydia Richardson, a mental health professional from Chicago, IL, and I enjoyed discussing Myers Briggs and the Enneagram model.

I had a 5-hour class on the Enneagram Model of personality, which is a fascinating theory.  I took a class from Pauline Tessler, and she spoke about various ways to become more self-aware and become a better collaborative professional.  She gave us a battery of tests on Myers Briggs, unconscious bias, Enneagram, and conflict style.  I left her class very informed, more self-aware and quite a bit more humble.

Cheryl Panther, a financial neutral from Nashville, TN, was sweet as can be!

It wasn’t all work, though.  Much of our time was spent socializing with all these interesting professionals.  When you do the same kind of work, you sort of skip over the basics and begin to explore ways to push the collaborative method forward. 

I was awestruck by Louise Mathias, a barrister and mediator from Sydney, Australia!

The people I met were kind, warm and very giving of their time and professional experience.  I definitely plan to attend the IACP convention again.

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Mediation Training with Sandra Lee

Posted by Heidi Risser
on March 22, 2019

Once again, I am training new mediators with Mark Riopel and Ketan Soni. We have another fantastic class of mediators. Our community is going to be filled with very experienced family law mediators.

My hope is that our clients will choose mediation instead of litigation to handle their family law issues.  To inspire everyone, Sandra Lee came to speak to the class.  She offered her view of mediation from the viewpoint of a non-lawyer mediator.  She has built up a thriving mediation practice over the years and helped thousands of people make better decisions about their lives and families. 

Sandra Lee and I stand side by side hugging after our mediation training.
Sandra Lee inspires students to write their own story of their divorce through empathetic and strategic mediation.

She gives the power to her clients, telling them that they can write the story of their divorce.  It can be peaceful through mediation and settlement, or it can be acrimonious through litigation. 

Sandra inspires me to give the power to my mediation clients, and to give them the credit when mediation succeeds.

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Walk and Talk: A New Way to Network

Posted by Heidi Risser
on February 21, 2019
My friend David Herring and I love to "walk and talk" to catch up on each other's practices.
My friend David Herring and I love to “walk and talk” to catch up on each other’s practices.

Networking is critical for any attorney to build and to maintain a law practice.  Most of the time, I have lunch or dinner with people.  Sometimes, I schedule a “walk and talk.” 

My friend and fellow collaborative family law attorney, David Herring, likes to go for a walk while we catch up on each other’s practice.  He and I have busy schedules, so we usually have to plan it a few weeks in advance. 

We meet up, usually at a convenient park, and walk around while we discuss current issues with collaborative law or running a law firm as a solo practitioner.  We have been doing this for over a year, and David and I really enjoy it.  It gets us out of our offices, and we get a little exercise in the fresh air. 

Networking with David was so nice, I had to capture it twice!
Networking with David was so nice, I had to capture it twice!

Coincidentally, I was reading in the Wall Street Journal today about “walk and talk” meetings.  The examples in the paper do not resemble what I am describing.  In the WSJ, everyone is dressed for an office setting, and it might be inconvenient to have a walking meeting in heels. 

Also, the WSJ described situations in which the boss just drops by a desk and requests a walk and talk meeting.  In my “walk and talks,” both of us are dressed to walk and the time and location are agreed upon far in advance. 

I think networking during meals is a great way to network, but I want to offer up this alternative, because not every networking meeting needs to involve food.

I would love to hear what you think of “walk and talk” meetings or other unconventional ways to network!

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