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Current and Past 
Meeting Schedule

Meetings are the third Wednesday of the month, 12-1:30

No meetings in July or August

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6/19/24 Litigation and collaboration: competitors or flip sides of the same coin?  Panelists Lucia Levias and Carol Betts will lead us.  Here are a few questions to start:  

What is the shape of the difference between collaboration and litigation (if any)?  What does it mean for there to be a difference (or not)?  In my experience, we have emphasized the differences between the two modes of practice. 

What would happen if we emphasized the similarities?  Or noticed the variation in litigation, just as there is variation in collaboration?

Hereʻs a slightly differently question—would collaboration be possible in the absence of litigation? 

We may be tempted to add a moral dimension to collaborative practice, that collaboration is morally preferable to litigation.  Are there “good people” who intentionally choose litigation?  And what do we make of people who choose collaboration when their motives are suspect?

5/15/24  Participatory learning experiment.  Thank you to our brave volunteers, April Benson and Cheryl Hubbell, for giving us a brief role play to work from.  Our ability to provide guidance and support flows directly from what we are able to notice in real time.  We will gather our individual observations to explore what happens in collaborative work, and how to more creatively and empathetically respond.

4/17/24  Participation Agreements.  Thank you to our panelists and facilitators Carol Betts, Gwen Mathewson and Leslie Garrison.  I was on a plane at the time of the meeting, so here are a few ideas from the pre-brief about possible functions of a participation agreement. 

·      laying out behavioral expectations to use in client management

·      asserting professional competence/dominance

·      reassuring clients that they are making principled choices

·      providing clarity for the court in the case of enforcement

·      demonstrating that attorneys are following the requirements of the UCLA

·      providing the case members a ritual to demonstrate unity

·      creating a record of client permission to share cases in consultation groups, and in CPW surveys.

3/20/24 Privilege and the nature of the collaborative community.  This is a risky conversation, and I will take on the role of facilitator.  What space or role do we take up in our collaborative community?  What qualities make for a good or successful member of your entity?  Who takes up the most space at meetings?  The least?  What are the named or unnamed norms and expectations of your entity, and where did they come from?  Whoʻs being recognized and offered leadership roles?

2/21/24 Intakes and getting new cases.  Many thanks to our panelists: Lucia Levias, Miles Yanick, Cheryl Hubbell and Beth Hirnle It takes a long time to develop collaborative skill, and itʻs never actually "developed," just "developing."  How do we find cases with enough complexity to require collaborative practice (as opposed to pro se mediation), but not so hard that they are unlikely to succeed outside litigation?  And how do new professionals develop the skills needed to manage these cases that are complex both in terms of task and in terms of process?

1/17/24 Happy new year!  Letʻs talk about fees.  What does it mean that different professionals have different pay scales?  How does that influence division of work among team members, and clientsʻ perceptions of value and importance?  How do we vary in whether we charge for routine and quick emails and phone calls?  

12/21/23 We are our own panel!  Anticipating a smaller group at the end of the year, we will discuss topics related to the November conversation.  Here are a few questions to get us started:


1) Where do you set your "default?"  Do you ordinarily provide legal information in joint session?  In handouts sent to both parties?  To your client in separate session?  Never?  What informs that usual procedure?


2) What do you think clients need in order to reach an informed settlement?  A thorough understanding of their own values and priorities?  Do they need to understand the legal landscape generally?  Do they need reassurance that they are getting "at least as much" as they would get in court?


3) What is the role of the court in negotiated divorce?  Would our work be the same if there were no court, or does the potential for coercive court action give us a platform for our out-of-court negotiation?  Are there ways the clients and professionals jointly take on the tasks of the court?

11/15/23 We have a robust panel: Tim Peterson, Raelene Bushbeck, Kristy Larch, Beth Hirnle, Sheri Vernon, and Alexis Squier!  Weʻll be discussing how to find a middle ground between rigid positionality and unsupportive agnosticism as we advise clients through a series of significant life choices.


10/18/23 Weʻll interrogate the story of the Moral Peacemaker and the Paradigm Shift.  Here are a few questions to get us started:

What does it mean for those outside the Collaborative community that we frame our work in terms of peacemaking and a paradigm shift? 

What does it mean for those inside the community?
What does it mean if the legend is true?  I.e., what if the Paradigm Shift is real, and some people are Peacemakers and the rest are not?  

What does it mean if the legend is untrue?  What if there is not a single Paradigm Shift but a continual and imperfect shifting of a paradigm?  And what if Peacemakers fail to live up to the label?

What do we expect from those who claim their paradigm is shifted?  

Can a paradigm shift be bought through training, or proved via certification or leadership?  

If I call myself a peacemaker, what am I wanting you to know about me? 

9/20/23 We'll begin the pod year with a twist on an exercise we've done in the past.  Find an image that represents you working with other professionals on a team.  We'll share images.  Maybe a few themes will emerge, and maybe not.  It's a fun way to (re)meet each other, and it will give us a fresh look at how we work together.  We might even see new facets to what it means to collaborate.


6/21/23 In our last meeting before the summer break, we try out a role play.  The group task is to notice as much as possible which happens among the role players, and what might explain their behavior.  This is likely an experiment we'll run again.  Thanks to our players, Miles Yanick, Bodil Stevns, Mihaella Bayla, Peter Crocker, Loretta Story and Carol Betts!

5/17/23 Courtney Story, Kevin Scudder and Joanna Roth will share their experiences within collaborative mediation.  There are many options as we match process to cases.  Understanding what is possible and what is expected within the different modalities is important to provide clients with an efficient and robust process. 

4/19/23 With all the recent changes in the housing market, itʻs time for a panel of members with experience in various facets of the housing industry.  Cheryl Hubbell, Bodil Stevns, Karloc Paden and Mihaella Bayla join to tell of us trends, common missteps, and possible solutions in a shifting market.

3/15/23 Miles Yanick leads us in a practical discussion as we think through how we have approached cases with complicated power dynamics.  What has worked, and what ideas do we have about why?  Miles also has thoughts on the use of mentalization from both the clientʻs and the professionalʻs perspective.

2/15/23 Karen Bonnell joins us for a conversation about navigating difficult dynamics in Collaborative cases.  Karenʻs books on healthy co-parenting and the art of creating a blended family are a go-to resource for many divorce professionals.

1/18/23 We'll start the new year off by discussing how we manage our intakes.  What forms have we developed, and what questions do we find helpful?  Do we screen people in or out of Collaborative practice, and how do we determine which processes to recommend to clients?

12/21/22 Mark Weiss, longtime leader of Collaborative practice, will discuss with us the origin of our Participation Agreement (PA).  The PA was created before the UCLA, and practice has evolved significantly since it was created.  Are there ways we have adapted our practice to the PA?  And what is the future of the PA?

11/16/22 Heather Harman will share with us her deep knowledge of parenting in separate households.  How have parenting roles changed in the course of our practices, and what values and priorities do we assume in our cases?

10/19/22 Carol Betts will lead a discussion on masculine culture and Collaborative practice.  What themes have you noticed in your cases around gender?  What gender assumptions do we bring into the room?  How can we deepen our understanding and curiosity around gender and gender culture?


9/21/22 We will open the new Coho season with a twist on an earlier exercise.  Find a picture that represents you on a Collaborative case.  It doesn't have to be anything literal, free associations are welcome.  We'll share our images with each other, describing how the image relates to our work.  We'll then imagine how all these different approaches and experiences interact on cases.

6/15/22 Conversation with Rachel Felbeck on feedback.  At one point in our local Collaborative practice, feedback was an expected part of our interdisciplinary work.  What worked, what didn't, what are we doing now, and what do we miss? 

5/18/22 Group discussion of neutrality.


As Inigo Montoya put it in Princess Bride, “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”  So, what does neutrality mean?  What do clients hear or expect from a "neutral"?  What do we expect from our "neutral" colleagues? 


The ABA model rules for mediators refer to "impartiality" rather than "neutrality."  What is gained or lost in this distinction?


The Washington UCLA does not mention neutrality, yet we think of neutrality and related concepts as integral to collaborative practice.  Are they?


The IACP Standards and Ethics refer to neutral professionals, which seems to exclude attorneys, but does not define the term.  What happens if attorneys attempt neutrality, or are specifically excluded from acting as neutrals?  Are there shades of neutrality?


If you're on the WSBA ADR section list-serv, you have received notices that our very own Carol Betts is facilitating a book club, and the first book is Bernie Mayer's "The Neutrality Trap."  So if you're wanting extra credit, read a chapter for our meeting, and finish it off with the WSBA ADR section.


For the super eager beavers out there, has a series of essays, videos and comments on neutrality.

4/20/22 Discussion with Collaborative Coaches Tim Peterson and Kim Dean regarding the nature of collaborative work.  How do we assess the suitability of collaborative cases?  Should we be screening people out?  Or in?


3/16/2022 Group conversation reflecting on the 2022 Collaborative Professionals of Washington annual conference: what we learned, and what piqued our interest.  Also, as a follow-up to the February meeting, we shared images that represent how we function on a collaborative team.

2/16/2022 Conversation with Trevor Slocum, local psychotherapist.  How do groups form and develop?  How do we relate to each other effectively to accomplish a joint task?  How do we learn through our group work in service of our clients?


1/19/2022 Authority in Collaborative Practice: Conversation with Gwen Mathewson, a well-respected colleague.  How do we delegate power and authority within Collaborative teams?

12/16/2021 Conversation with Mike Fancher, founder of Seattle Divorce Services, and a longtime force within the Collaborative community in Washington state.

11/17/2021 Housing, financial goals and settlements: Conversation with Cheryl Hubbell, the go-to mortgage consultant for divorcing clients.

10/20/2021 Discussion with Rachel Felbeck.  Rachel brought Collaborative Law to King County, and we're delighted to consider with her the arc of Collaborative Practice.

9/16/2020 Real estate update: Discussion with Dominik Musafia.  With his background as a real estate broker and attorney, Dominik will lead us in a discussion of common pitfalls and hidden opportunities in transferring property during divorce.

7/15/2020 Implicit Bias:  Discussion with Jamie Clausen, including an overview of the social science, the impacts, and actions to recognize and disarm our biases.

6/17/2020 Covid-19 and Parenting: Discussion of examples arising in our practices.

5/20/2020 Spousal Support: Looking back and looking forward.  Discussion with Comm. Steve Gaddis.  An in-depth look at the recent history of spousal support, and how we treat spousal support in a time of economic uncertainty.


4/15/2020 Collaborative practice in the age of COVID-19.  Discussion with Roy Martin, Attorney at Law.

3/18/2020 Interdisciplinary practice.  How do we engage as a collaborative team with the financial neutral?  Discussion with Maryann Nelson, CDFA.  

2/19/2020 Reflective practice as a learning tool.  How do we learn skills in real time?  Collaborative practice differs significantly from litigation in nature, and requires interdisciplinary teamwork.  

1/15/2020  Using Zoom for professional meetings.  We will spend about an hour going over the features of Zoom as we will use them in the pod.  With virtual meetings becoming more commonplace, facility with Zoom could be generally useful as well.  No advance readings for this meeting.

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