Why Don’t Lawyers Know What Mediators Do? by Don Sinkov{3:06 minutes to read} Recently, I returned from a 3-day annual conference of the New York State Council of Divorce Mediation. The speaker was Eric Tepper. The training was about the new NYS Spousal Maintenance guidelines and advisory schedule. Eric had worked with Judge Sunshine in creating the guidelines and schedule.

Shortly thereafter, I attended the Divorce Economic Institute training by MatLaw in Westchester County. MatLaw provides an ongoing review of case law each year that is usually attended by members of the Westchester Bar’s Family Law section. I have attended the MatLaw trainings every year for the past 13 years. I believe it is incredibly important to keep current with the seminal cases in equitable distribution and matters relating to divorce, business valuations, marital interest, etc.

The attendees are almost exclusively attorneys fulfilling their required Continuing Legal Education (CLE). It’s 200 divorce lawyers in the same room, most of whom know each other. As a mediator, I feel much like an outsider, but to me, working with attorneys every day, it’s important to attend many of the same trainings they do. I have learned to speak their language and understand how they think. This has been incredibly helpful to my clients in understanding legal outcomes.

While attending the MatLaw training, I sat next to an attorney I didn’t know. Apparently, he was very well known to everyone else. All the attendees said hello to him. He introduced himself and asked me what area of law I practiced. I said, “Well, I’m just a divorce mediator, not an attorney,” He said, “Oh, well, I’m sure that attending this law training designed for attorneys will be a new experience for you. It will allow you to see how we lawyers are trained and the kind of issues we deal with.”

Apparently this attorney’s view of a divorce mediator was somebody who didn’t know anything about the law, so going to a law training would be a new experience. It would open one’s eyes and reveal how the “real legal world” functions.

I smiled politely and moved to a different seat.

I was shocked to hear an attorney’s perspective on how ignorant a divorce mediator was. He clearly didn’t understand the work that I, and my colleagues, do. Unfortunately, I think most of the attorneys there felt the same way, so good luck mediators.

Are you wondering if lawyers think you’re nincompoops?

No longer shall you wonder . . .

About Don Sinkov

Don Sinkov Your Divorce Mediator Westchester County, NY Putnam County, NY Phone: (914) 588-6258 eMail: Info@YourDivorceMediator.com