I will never take your fight to court.

After having been a courtroom attorney for well more than two decades, I understood the dynamics at play in court-based, positional problem solving. There was little joy for anyone in the midst of it, and it was pretty darn hard to create solutions that stuck. After about a decade of this, I tried mitigating the damage of the court system by offering mediation and collaboration services for some of my clients. I began to see how powerful these problem solving methods could be. So, in 2015, I quit court altogether.

Here's what I do now: I offer consensual dispute resolution options to clients by devoting my practice to being a neutral mediator (in all types and stages of a dispute), a collaborative settlement attorney, and a conflict management strategist & coach. And, I bookend my peacemaking work by supporting other legal professionals seeking to transform their court-based practices into peacemaking ones as a practice development coach, consultant, and trainer.

I believe in the consensual dispute resolution approach so much that in 2014 I co-founded Two Rivers Institute for Dispute Resolution and am committed to serving as its Executive Director. Two Rivers' mission is to promote peacemaking in Washington and Oregon through educational and informational services to professionals and the public. My passion for teaching goes back to 2008, when I first began conducting workshops and trainings on consensual dispute resolution methods for legal professionals.

I frequently speak on topics such as: client-centered decision-making, mediation, collaborative practice, client relations, settlement advocacy, lawyer as peacemaker, unbundling, and developing a peacemaking practice. I also provide mediation and facilitation services to non-profits and community & public agencies, focusing on healthy dialogue, conflict management, strategic planning, and change leadership.

Vancouver, Washington has been my lifelong home, from Harney Elementary to McLoughlin Junior High to Hudson’s Bay High School and Clark College. I enjoy being a wife, step-mother, aunt, sister, friend, and community volunteer. And, I love adventuring with Buffy the Golden Retriever, who will often be sighted eagerly greeting clients in my waiting room with her contagious wiggles!

Here is some more about my background:

Education

  • University of Portland, BA Communications, 1986
  • University of Oregon School of Law, Doctor of Jurisprudence, 1991

Licenses & Professional Associations

  • American Bar Association
  • Association of Family and Conciliation Courts
  • Clark County Bar Association, 1991
  • Collaborative Professionals of Washington
  • International Academy of Collaborative Professionals
  • Oregon Association of Collaborative Professionals
  • Oregon State Bar, 1992
  • Washington State Bar Association, 1991

Judicial and Quasi-Judicial Experience 

  • Judge Pro Tempore, Clark County District Court, 1998 - 2004
  • Part-Time Court Commissioner, Clark County Courts, 2001 - 2004
  • Hearings Officer, Vancouver School District, 1994 - 2000
  • Guardian ad Litem, Title 26 Family Law and Title 11 Guardianship, 1994 - 2000

Publications

  • Contributing Author, Building a Successful Collaborative Law Practice, Mosten & Cordover, American Bar Association (2018)
  • Author, Commentary on Interdisciplinary Teamwork in Family Law Practice, Family Court Review, Vol. 56, No. 3 (July 2018)
  • Contributing Author, Washington Practice Manual, Family Law, Volumes 19-21, West Publishing (2016)

Current Non-Profit Board Service

  • Collaborative Professionals of Washington, board member since 2016; currently Treasurer of the Board of Directors
  • Global Collaborative Law Council, Northwest Regional Chair, since 2016
  • Cappella Romana, a vocal ensembles dedicated to keeping alive the musical traditions of the Christian East and West, board member since 2013; currently President of the Board of Directors
  • Children's Center, a mental health agency serving children and their families in Southwest Washington, board member since 2002; President of the Board of Directors from 2009 - 2011

Selected Community Service, Past & Present

  • American Red Cross, Southwest Washington Chapter, past board member
  • Clark County Emergency Medical Services Advisory Board, past board member & vice-chairperson
  • Clark County Volunteer Lawyers Program, volunteer lawyer
  • Clark College Foundation, past board member
  • Community Mediation Services, volunteer mediator
  • H-ROC PAC
  • League of Women Voters of Clark County, past board member & chapter president
  • SWIFT Charitable Grants, past member & president
  • Vancouver Rotary Club, past member

Honors & Awards

  • Women of Achievement Iris Award (sponsored by Clark College, Greater Vancouver Chamber of Commerce, Vancouver, Business Journal, H-ROC PAC), 2018
  • Paul Harris Fellow, Vancouver Rotary Club, 2003, 2010
  • Volunteer of the Year, Clark County Volunteer Lawyers Program, 1996, 2002, 2006
  • Top 40 Business Professionals Under 40 (sponsored by Vancouver Business Journal), 2000

My approach to Family Law