“Peace is not the absence of conflict, but the ability to cope with it.”
– Mahatma Gandhi
In his thirty years of practicing law, Mark has learned that even experienced professionals end up in disputes because of misunderstandings that are largely driven by poor communication. Poor communication, followed by one or more misunderstandings, causes an emotional response that ultimately drives the dispute between the parties. To obtain a good, meaningful, and lasting result for the parties, Mark will work to identify the underlying emotions and interests that are driving the conflict so that all parties leave the mediation feeling empowered and good about the result. Mark does not believe in the old adage that a good result is where both parties leave the mediation feeling a bit disappointed. Mark wants the parties to leave the mediation transformed, empowered, and certain that they achieved the right result. There are a variety of conflict resolution services Mark offers.
In all mediations Mark adheres to the following standards:
- Model Standards of Conduct for Mediators, adopted by the American Bar Association, Association for Conflict Resolution, and the American Arbitration Association
- Standards of Practice for Professional Family Mediators, adopted by the Academy of Professional Family Mediators
- Oregon Rules of Professional Conduct, Rule 1.12, Former Judge, Arbitrator, Mediator or Other Third-Party Neutral
- Oregon Rules of Professional Conduct, Rule 2.4, Lawyer Serving as Mediator
We understand that some clients may feel safer and more comfortable in their own environment. Mediation can be seamlessly transitioned to video conference with proper preparation and if everyone present during the meeting is keyed in to the practical and ethical nuances of a virtual meeting. With a nationwide legal practice, Mark has been using video conference technology to conduct confidential meeting sessions long before the pandemic and he is highly skilled at using all of the features so that the mediation can run as smoothly and effectively as in-person mediation.
Facilitative & Transformative Mediation
For a traditional mediation, Mark combines two different styles of mediation to give the parties the best chance at resolving their dispute. Facilitative Mediation is the most common style of mediation. It focuses on the interests of the parties and, where appropriate, emphasis is placed on trying to preserve the relationship of the parties. The mediator acts to “facilitate” a dialogue that allows the parties to develop their own solutions. Transformative Mediation is a relatively new style of mediation focused on empowerment and recognition. Emphasis is placed on empowering the parties to define their own issues and to guide the parties to recognize and understand the other party’s point of view.
Mark’s approach combines the traditional facilitative model and the newer transformative model. By combining both, Mark makes sure that the parties are in control of their dispute, and they take responsibility for the outcome. In his experience, this approach gives the parties the best chance to repair their relationship and achieve a result that will allow them to look towards the future in a positive way.
Accordingly, Mark spends time before the mediation speaking with both parties and their attorneys to understand the nature of the dispute and their perception of the events. At the mediation, Mark keeps the parties together for the majority of the mediation. Unlike many mediators who break out the parties for early caucuses, Mark keeps the parties together as often as possible so that they focus on communicating with each other. Mark’s role is to encourage conversation and ask pointed questions to drive the discussion.
In Facilitative and Transformative mediations, the Mediator does not offer advice, opinions, or recommendations. Evaluative Mediation breaks those rules. If asked and agreed to by both sides, Mark can point out the weaknesses in each side’s case and predict what a judge or jury would be likely to do. The focus of this type of mediation is the legal rights of the parties, rather than their needs and interests. Evaluative Mediation can be helpful early in a case – often before discovery takes place – so that the parties can get a non-binding assessment of the case.
Workplace Conflict Management
Conflict is inevitable in the workplace. Resolving those inevitable conflicts is not as certain. As a mediator, Mark can help create a positive, healthy work environment that will give your business the opportunity to be successful. Mark’s process teaches employees to listen to gain understanding rather than to argue. By asking the right questions during mediation, everyone involved can focus on the present and the future rather than the past. Mark’s approach can help your business deescalate problems and resolve disputes before they head to litigation or the termination of key staff. Reducing costs and the preservation of relationships for the long term is the end result of a successful workplace mediation.
Divorce Mediation & Parenting Plans
Every divorce is different. Each divorce is the product of individuals with different backgrounds and experiences, marriages that are each unique, and family dynamics that are often wildly different from your neighbors next door. During what will likely be the most difficult time in your life, you should have someone help you and your spouse navigate the process to achieve and fair result that addresses each and every decision needed to achieve a divorce that is both final certain as to its terms. While as the mediator Mark’s job is to serve as a neutral party, he makes two things clear up front: (1) He is not neutral when it comes to children – Mark looks out for their best interests first, even if you or your spouse don’t; and (2) Mark works hard to detect and address power imbalances between spouses. Mark combines the best of facilitative and evaluative mediation techniques to ensure that one spouse doesn’t steamroll the other to a lopsided settlement.
Mark offers three specific mediation plans to select from, but he is always happy to formulate a specific mediation process to meet your needs:
(1) Full Divorce Mediation with Children – This includes mediating all aspects of the divorce including custody, parenting schedules, transition plans, holiday and vacation schedules, child support, access to school and medical records, transportation, childcare, healthcare, communication between parents, communication between parents and children, information sharing, introduction of significant other, future moves, discipline, changes to parenting plan, spousal support, distribution of assets, distribution of liabilities, and enforcement.
(2) Full Divorce Mediation without Children – This includes mediating all aspects of the divorce, minus the children. The focus is on spousal support (if any), distribution of assets, and distribution of liabilities, and enforcement.
(3) Parenting Plans – At any time before, during or after a divorce, Mark can help mediate a parenting plan or adjustments to an existing parenting plan. This will include parenting schedules, transition plans, holiday and vacation schedules, child support, access to school and medical records, transportation, childcare, healthcare, communication between parents, communication between parents and children, information sharing, introduction of significant other, future moves, discipline, changes to parenting plan, and enforcement.
Mark offers a free 45-minute consultation to discuss the divorce mediation process to see and whether he is the right mediator for you and your spouse.