I have thoroughly enjoyed my recent Mediation training with the wonderful people at Bond University. I completed 4 days back in July and only recently, I completed a further 2 days of training and assessment. As I write this blog, I am waiting for the outcome of my exams. Hopefully, if I pass, I will be able to gain National Accreditation as a Mediator. Doing exams brought out some long held memories (none of them pleasant) about my university exams 25 years ago. It actually instilled more fear in me than going to Court and arguing a difficult legal argument before a Judge.
Getting up in the morning and driving to work looking at the Jacarandas in bloom made me sweat even more. The studying of texts, reading and re-reading of notes and researching occupied a few sleepless days, nights and weekends and hopefully I get through it all unscathed.
After 23 years of acting for clients in family law matters, I thought it was time to branch out, try something different and challenging. I still love doing family law work and will still be seeing clients and attending to my family law clients. However, as time has gone past I have seen a massive change in Mediation (especially over the last 5 years) in the area of family law. I said to myself that I wanted to be a part of this process and change. Not only do I want the ability to act for a client and help them get through a matter quickly and fairly, but now I also want the opportunity to assist both parties and their lawyers to come to a quick, sensible and commercial agreement so they can move on with their lives.
People are often cynical about the work that family lawyers do. The fact is that the vast majority of us only do this type of work because we want to see people get through the tough times and get on with their lives. We actually make some sort of difference and help them do that not only with our skills as family law practitioners, but also through our other skills such as negotiating and managing client expectations and emotions.
In my mind, as a specialist family law practitioner who has practised for many years, I have the experience and ability to deal with client emotions and to help them focus on what is important to get through their matter. I have always been passionate about clients resolving their disputes quickly, fairly and out of Court and if one is to be passionate about something, then it is perhaps time for me to be part of that process rather than just a player in the process.
It was somewhat over recent weeks at Hartley Healy due to the school holidays and a few of us away, however, we are now all back at the firm and the work is certainly starting to build up as it usually does prior to Christmas. Hopefully, I will be able to report some interesting cases here over the coming weeks.