Divorce Mediation Blog

Why don’t we represent individual clients?

Monday, March 26, 2012

As we have transitioned from private law practice (Bill Levine) and as a sitting judge (Chouteau Levine) to doing full-time work as mediators, arbitrators and other neutral roles only with Levine Dispute Resolution Center LLC, many people continue to ask us to take on engagements that are representational in nature. For example, several lawyers and clients from one side of a case have asked us to consult on issues presented by a court-based controversy. For another, we have been asked to represent children in court.

We have declined all of these potential roles.

True, none of these jobs would place us in a position to represent a spouse who is an essential stakeholder to litigation issues. But, by their very nature, these jobs imply something that we are not anymore: practicing lawyers whose job it is to “advocate”. Even a private consultation is a form of advocacy, because we are helping one party or another figure out strengths and weaknesses in his or her case, for the purpose of either honing trial preparations or clarifying/enhancing negotiating positions, to the detriment of another party or parties. Thus, the engagement is neither impartial nor it is neutral. Similarly, representing children is a form of advocacy for a particular point of view, even if the represented party is not “responsible” for causing the conflict.

At LDRC, when we mediate, we see it as our mission to open the minds of the parties to see each other’s points of view, to encourage introspection about one’s own real needs, and to detect where mutual needs and priorities intersect. Then, we try to promote sincere efforts to find creative and efficient ways to make agreements that promote these common areas of interest. When we arbitrate, our job is to make a decision, rather than to promote exploration of interests, but our role is nonetheless one that demands that we remain impartial, or indifferent to who “wins or loses”. We must decide the case strictly based in the facts as we hear them and conclude them to be, and the law to which they relate.

In neither of our roles is there room for advocacy for one side or another; and for us, it is important that our market both see us and understand us to be impartial all of the time. It is equally important or us to maintain this intellectual distinction throughout our workday that helps us to stay “neutral” to the very greatest extent that we possibly can.

Along with skills, experience and judgment, our impartiality it is our calling card.


Get e-mail notifications of new blog posts! Enter email address below.:

Delivered by FeedBurner

other articles

recent posts


marriage equality family laws private business home ownership Levine Dispute Resolutions parens patriae same-sex couples MUAA pre-ARA alimony Family decision making hostile divorce litigated custody divorce judgment trial judge substantive law and procedure marriage laws pet custody alimony rights financial advisor Massachusetts alimony laws LDRC blog Massachusetts Alimony Reform Act Thanksgiving commercial litigation Blog alternative dispute resolutions Fiscal Cliff mediation income tax returns Divorce Massachusetts legislature dispte resolution Obama-Romney Massachusetts Bar Association Family Law Section Council The Seven Sins of Alimony Financial Experts Masters Certified Divorce Financial Analyst business custody litigation child support and custody Twinkies Honorable John Smoot alimony subsidy health insurance DOMA Bernier v. Bernier Boston Bar Association Family Law Section co-mediators joint engagement agreement Obamacare divorced spouses Obama Care post-divorce MA counselor SJC family law attorneys in Massachusetts mediation for clients Fixed Child Support M.B.A. House of Delegates Plymouth Probate and Family Court alimony law in Massachusetts model act resolving disputes Bower mediation skills cohabitating recipients Divorce Agreements Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines Quadrennial Review Excess Alimony Payments Alimony Reform Act Mediation Works Incorporated accountants out-of-court resolver transitional alimony cost of living adjustments separation mediation facility divorce judgement private law practice experienced mediators family support litigation Probate and Family University of Massachusetts (Amherst) Family Business Center alimony laws mediation or arbitration alimony obligation for a cohabitation hybrid Custody IRS Judge James Menno divorce laywers family firm institute program traditional negotiations lawyer assisted-mediation medical benefits Business Arbitration mediators or arbitrators divorce arbitrators discovery master mediation and arbitration divorces NEW Child Support Guidelines mediated agreements top federal bracket taxpayers Chouteau Levine Northeastern University for Family Business Baseball Players Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly cohabitating couples insurance coverage family and probate law disputes collaborative process med/arb marriage An Act Reforning Alimony dispute resolution center Wosson v. Wosson Alimony Reform and Cohabitation lawyer attended arbitrations Probate and Family Court Judge UMass programs facilitated negotiations disputes alimony judgment divorcing divorce mediations divorce arbitrator taxes Alimony in Massachusetts Divorce Mediation Training Program child support Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court 2012 elections alimony payers Honorable Chouteau Levine university-based programs Child Support Guidelines gathering of mediators Graham v. Graham divorce lawyers family law public trial process Pet Protection Department of Revenue Alimony Act of 2011 repeal Obamacare Falmouth MA protect marriage divorce judgments lawyer-attended divorce mediation direct negotiation standard value Chanukah sitting judge Massachusetts divorce lawyers Massachusetts Propate and Family Court Chouteau parent coordiation arbitrator Massachusetts divorce mediators and arbitrators near-sacred charitable deduction divorced non-employee spouse dispute resolution privately held business in divorce Master Probate and Family Court The Defense of Marriage Act married filing jointly family courts child support treatment divorcing parties tax burden Thanksgivukkah divorce terms advocacy family lawyers non-taxable alimony Defense of Marriage Act alimony law Appeals Court tax reform investment income/gains divorce and family law mediators family law arbitrators What is Family Law Arbitration alimony overhaul marital infidelity divorce process mediated divorce family LDRC principals bullet arbitration divorce settlement fair value traditional resolutions divorce litigation health care law Alternative to Court family mediators alimony dollar med-arb Dogs Massachusetts Divorce divorce arbitration how baseball arbitration works mediators divorce laws confidential process Cohabitation marital agreement trial court valuation Greater Boston and Western MA divorce mediators Western Massachusetts Reimbursment Alimony civil union divorce mediation same-sex marriage Affordable Health Care Act alimony recipients Recomputation and Alimony Romneycare era reforms Governor Patrick COBRA Financial Experts in Divorce post-divorce health coverage counsel between sessions health coverage business owners discrimination against gays and lesbians Goodridge v. Dept. of Public Health Probate and Family Courts divorce agreement income American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers Family Law Arbitration property Della Corte v. Ramirez annual training program Same Sex Spouses attorney mediators, mediators negotiations couples family divorce Chouteau and Bill Levine health insurance provision S Corporation alimony calculation alternative dispute resolution options tax professina mediation session Spousal support Fiscal Cliff America peacemaker lawyer divorce cases Baseball local taxes paid dispute resolution service providers Massachusetts lawyers federal Defense of Marriage Act Dispute resolution methods The Boston Globe employer provided health care Matrimonial Arbitration family law mediation divorcing couples Bill Levine lawyer-attended mediation Divorce in Massachusetts proposed legistation Act Reforming Alimony conciliation family-owned businesses Consumer Price Index business owner-spouse Shared Legal Custody IRS Form 8332 divorce issues William Levine rehabilitative alimony partner Proposed Family Law Arbitration Act Non-compete Orders tax deduction alimony reform alimony lawyers Boston MA family law arbitrator double dipping Suffolk Probate and Family Court lawyer-to-lawyer negotiation child alimony alimony reform legislation polygamous marriage Family Law Arbitration in Massachusetts Act Reforming Alimony in the Commonwealth separation agreements Major League Baseball Arbitration Medicaid Massachusetts divorce mediators reimbursement alimony Josh Hoch arb/med Same Sex Child Custody Massachusetts State Law counter arguments divorce mediator United States Supreme Court William M. Levine Adams v. Adams General term alimony health insurance coverage mediation room post-retirement alimony Massachusetts child support standards neutrol roles Levine Dispute Resolution Anti-Double Counting lawyer family law cases efficient and voluntary mediation process alternative disupute resolutions present legal representation new alimony law mediator mediation center divorce mediators mediations interest-based negotiation dispute resolutions case law divorce judges mediation with lawyers, mediation without lawyers DRC CSG Hostess Brands New Massachusetts Alimony Law alternative resolution Massachusetts alimony law arbitrators facilitated negotiation spouse Baseball Arbitration divorced people Post- Divorce Health Insurance COLA Boston LDRC’s Chouteau Levine valuation experts re-finance agreement Massachusetts Chapter of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers Family Law Arbitration Act court-appointed mediator Levine Dispute Resolution Center resolve disputes neutral professionals married filing separately Uniform Arbitration Act divorce mediation and arbitration hybrid Dispute Resolution Coordinator Child support payors mediation process Massachusetts Uniform Arbitration Act food court offerings new alimony laws alimony termination Green v. Green family mediation arbitration private consultation family business marital mediation medical insurance for non employee former spouse Massachusetts Bar Association Family Law Conference LDRC legal process how does mediator facilitate negotiations MA Health Care Reform Legal cusody of Children Children U.S. Bankruptcy Court mediating with lawyers present alimony judgments neutral family and divorce mediators lawyer negotiation alimony computation purposes Massachusetts alimony and child support mediate Massachusetts Appeals Court Divorce attorneys attorney ban gay marriage alimony gap alimony statute Massachusetts alimony alimony claim alimony deduction alimony orders new Massachusetts alimony laws sudden wealth food court Romneycare real estate appraiser Ella-Warnken v Elia joint legal custody house advocate Hostess-baker’s union Same Sex Romney Care Congressmen self-insurance employers Massachusetts Department of Revenue Bill and Chouteau Levine Massachusetts Greater Boston private dispute resolution ADPFM gays and lesbians Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines litigation attorneys divorce and family law settling issues in a divorce case family and divorce mediators and arbitrators enhanced communications Same Sex Marriage single-issue mediation cohabitating partner DivorceMediation home interest MLB labor agreement healthcare laws tax workplace mediation reflection arbitrations Bell v. Bell capital gains income laws of marriage refinancing mortgage after divorce Levine Dispute Resolution Center LLC divorced workplace mediation AAML high-risk methodology blended tax rate wins or loses family businesses Pro-Double Counting divorce engagement good faith mediation medical insurance coverage Caveney v. Caveney lawyer-assisted mediations Caveney Appeals Court Clinton Era alimony fixed as child support lawyer-mediators family lawyers in Massachusetts tax deductions former spouses