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


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