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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REGISTRATION LIMITED FOR WEBINAR ON TRAUMA-INFORMED MEDIATION PRACTICES

The final session of the Virginia Mediation Network spring series is open for registration.  In the session  participants will be introduced in how to construct a mediation process that is trauma-sensitive and trauma informed.  This webinar will focus how members may come into mediation with experiences of trauma, how mediators are affected by secondary trauma, and how the court system can be traumatic and thereby impact some participants in mediation.  While the speakers will address the impact on children, they will also provide a broad overview of the topic of trauma and mediation. The speakers will include Jamie E. Austin, the Regional Director for Pathways in Culpepper, Virginia and Shannon Sneary, a mediator with the Fairfield Center in Harrisonburg, Virginia.  Due to the nature of the webinar, pre-registration is required no later than May 1!  (The cost is only $10.00 for VMN members!)  You may register by visiting the VMN website.

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TOP TEN MISTAKES PEOPLE MAKE WHEN THEY FILE FOR DIVORCE WITHOUT A LAWYER

In the last few months, I've been working on a series on how to file for divorce without a lawyer in West Virginia.  Next week, I'll continue in that series with a post on the hearing.  However, I'll pause today and remind readers of some of the mistakes you can make when filing for divorce without a lawyer.

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Celebrating Christmas after separation--Part I

"What do we do about Christmas?"  This is a question that comes up in most mediations involving child custody.  In mediation or collaborative law, you can tailor your holiday celebrations with your children consistent with your own family traditions and celebrations.  Whether I’m working in a collaborative law case or in mediation, we work to make all holidays, including Christmas, peaceful, unique and special for the children.  As a lawyer and mediator with offices located in West Virginia and Washington, D.C., we can design the perfect holiday for the children, together.

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VIRGINIA CONFERENCE DEMONSTRATES THE BROAD APPLICATION OF MEDIATION TO RESOLVE DISPUTES

This weekend I had the pleasure of attending the Virginia Mediation Network’s annual fall conference.  As a member of the Board of Directors, I take great pride in being part of such a wonderful program.  The presentations and workshops were varied, representing the wide variety of contexts when mediation may effectively resolve conflicts.

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CIVIL MEDIATION--WHAT HAPPENS AFTER THE MEDIATION?

Moving on after you have suffered an injury or loss can be difficult.  Mediation is often the best way to to resolve a civil case and be able to move on.  If selected early, mediation saves time and money for both parties in legal expenses.  Our office encourages clients to participate in mediation at the earliest possible date, often BEFORE filing suit, to be sure to gain the most benefit possible from early resolution.  In many states mediation is required in all civil cases before a trial is scheduled.  Even when you don’t reach an agreement during the first session mediation can be helpful.  About 98% of all civil cases settle before trial so it is likely that your case won’t go to trial.  Sometimes the progress made in mediation sets the matter up so that it will be more likely to settle quickly and fairly following the mediation.  Sometimes a further session is helpful.  If your case is resolved in mediation, you can expect a few steps to finalize the resolution.

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WHAT HAPPENS AFTER MEDIATION?

Congratulations!  You just finished your mediation session and reached an agreement.  You may feel relieved that the pressure is over or excited that you have found a way to move forward in your life without the stress over litigation.  You may feel regretful that you didn’t get exactly what you were looking for when you first met with your attorney or filed the petition.  You may be wondering “ What if….”

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WHAT TO EXPECT IN MEDIATION

If you have never participated in mediation, you may wonder what’s involved. While every situation is different, there are a few things you can expect regardless of the type of case or mediator.  Our office accepts cases for mediation including elder mediation, family mediation, divorce mediation, child custody mediation, civil mediation and mediation of insurance disputes.  With offices in Washington DC and West Virginia, we are available to answer your questions and help you to evaluate how mediation may help you resolve your case faster and more economically than litigation.

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