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


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