The one workshop that changed everything for me. (Plus I’m in a book!)
In 2015, I was at a crossroads. I had been practicing law for 23 years and for the last ten, I had been straddling the line between a traditional and a collaborative practice. The time I spent going to court, leading my clients into what I knew would be a devastating experience for them, was taking a toll on me as well as them.
I no longer had the heart to practice in the old paradigm, but I didn't know if I could make a living in a new one.
That all changed when I met Woody Mosten. A lawyer, mediator, educator, and author, Woody embodies what it means to live your values; he is a world-leader in my field. In the spring of 2015, I attended Woody's Portland workshop on Developing a Peacemaking Practice. That was the first step to finding the courage to admit that I could no longer work as a traditional lawyer –– not when I knew there was a better way. And when I learned Woody was headed to Seattle to deliver the same training a year later, I jumped at the chance to learn from him again and headed up north.
Fast forward to today, and I'm now running the practice I didn't even realize was an option three years ago.
No more leading clients through an adversarial process that creates "winners" and "losers", no more court experiences that harm just as much as they help. Today, I help people find mutually beneficial solutions where each person has an equal voice. I get so excited when I can help people who have stopped talking to each other, reconnect in a way where they can finally hear what the other person has to say. And I'm jazzed when I can help someone gain a little bit of insight about themselves in the process. Best of all, I get to do it under the umbrella of promoting a better way of dealing with conflict, one in which we all come out the other side a little more human.
Without Woody Mosten, this may never have happened. It was at that second workshop that Woody invited me into a community of 15 peacemaking practitioners he has entrusted to teach that very course that started it all for me. Among these collaborative practice leaders is Adam Cordover, a lawyer from Florida, who is quickly making a name for himself in the international collaborative community.
So of course, when Woody and Adam approached me about a year ago to contribute to their upcoming book, I said yes.
And now the book is almost out! This book is the roadmap I wished I had in 2015. It provides the steps to building a sustainable collaborative practice and covers how collaborative professionals deal with common challenges. It's an invaluable resource for all practitioners trying to help more families find peace and resolution.
I'm thrilled to pieces to have been part of such a fascinating collaboration between people who are all focused on the same thing: changing the way the world approaches conflict.
Because in the end, that's what it's all about.
I'm honored to be a leader in the community of collaborative professionals who are on a mission to change the way the world resolves conflict. Woody Mosten showed me it was possible to build a peacemaking practice. I'd like to show you it's possible to resolve conflict and create more peace.
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Oh Karen, thank you! I am so inspired by this work and am motivated to spread the word. So many people can benefit from a different approach to conflict resolution.