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


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