My Top 5 Lessons Learned at the Restorative Practices Conference in Minneapolis

Last week, I returned from the Restorative Practices International conference in St. Paul Minnesota and am frankly swamped at my office!  But I want to finish out a post before I forget about the conference, so I'm going to come up with my top five lessons learned at the conference.  It's no surprise to me that these tend to involve interaction between 

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Thinking about "Collaborative Practices" for Mediators

This week I've been working with Marshall Yoder to prepare for a workshop where we will share our experience with mediators throughout the region.  The conference is scheduled for October 9, 2018, in Front Royal, Virginia. Front Royal is a wonderful town to visit in October, the location of the start of the Skyline Drive through the Blue Ridge Mountains!

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A Restorative Justice Based Practice of Law

I’m putting the finishing touches on my breakout session for the RPI conference next week in St. Paul about restorative lawyering. What’s that? Both Dan Van Ness and Howard Zehr describe restorative justice as being a continuum, with some practices fully restorative and others not at all restorative. Most RJ program practices can be placed someplace on that continuum.  I have found that in my everyday practice of law and mediation, my practices may also be placed on that continuum and I work to find the ways to make them more restorative.

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CAN WE SAY THAT? MORE RESOURCES ON FIRST AMENDMENT RIGHTS OF STUDENTS

Today's blog post is my second about free speech rights for students in school.  My first post addressed what rights the First Amendment guarantees to all citizens and how they may be limited.  Today, I'll move and discuss precisely what limits school officials can place on students in public schools.  (Remember that private schools that do not receive federal funds have different standards!)

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CAN WE SAY THAT? A SUMMARY OF THE FIRST AMENDMENT FOR STUDENTS

With the wave of activism among American’s youth, I find that I’m getting calls from students, and their parents, about what free speech rights students have at school, and outside of school.  In the past, I've been involved in research and litigation involving the free speech.  During law school, I working as a research assistant on the issues of free speech and religion.  The first case that I argued at the West Virginia Supreme Court addressed the free speech right of the student body president to intervene when security officers began arresting students at a football game.  Since then, the laws have changed a little, but the fundamental meaning of the first amendment remains solid.  The government is limited by the First Amendment in when and how it may infringe upon any citizen's right to speak freely.

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Collaborative Divorce in the Mountain State: What the Parties say

In my last post, I described my excitement when members of my collaborative practice group worked with a couple to complete the first collaborative divorce in West Virginia.  I explained the benefits, from my perspective as a collaboratively trained attorney. After the hearing, we had a chance to sit down with the parties and talk a little bit about their experience with collaborative divorce.  

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A Collaborative Divorce in the Mountain State

Last month I had the great honor to work with a couple who decided to use collaborative law to help them file and finalize their divorce.  In the very first collaborative case in West Virginia involving attorneys trained by IACP and members of a collaborative practice group. Yes, the first one!  And a mere two weeks later, the second case made its way through the courts.

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What's the Difference Between Litigation and a Long Train Ride?

Last week, my daughter, my mother and I took a train ride together. Years ago, my mother added the ride from Toronto to Vancouver to her "bucket list."  After finding a great sale for winter trips, we planned the trip and departed on  January 29, 2018.  Little did I know that I was about to learn a little bit more about what it might feel like to be a litigant in the American legal system.

A friend and fellow mediator, Jeff Molenda, often quotes John R. Van Winkle's book, "Mediation:  A Path Back for the Lost Lawyer."   In the first section of his book, "The Litigation Train," Van Winkle claims that at the end of the twentieth century in the United States our litigation system is broken and has to come resemble a long, expensive train ride.  

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