The Lion and the Lamb

Many of you may know that my mother, who is a retired college Art History professor and an incredibly fine artist (some of her work adorns our office and much of it my home), has designed all of my office holiday cards for many years. Each design for each year’s card is hand drawn by my mother before being incorporated into the holiday card. My mother is now 87, and did this year’s card too!

Copyright 2013, Marilyn M. Levitt, all rights reserved
Copyright 2013, Marilyn M. Levitt, all rights reserved. Original artwork by Marilyn M. Levitt and cannot be reproduced without the written permission of the artist.

I have had many wonderful responses from clients and business associates to my mother’s holiday cards. In a world where everything sometimes feels too much the “same”, having a holiday card that is personal and unique each year has been an important component of how our office sees itself, in striving to provide personal services to each of our clients for their individual and unique needs.

One of my mother’s past cards featured a lion and a lamb – this holiday card appears with this blog. A client of mine was particularly taken with this holiday card, and told me that the card spoke to him. When asked what he meant by that, he said he saw the dichotomy between the lion and the lamb – to use his words, clients and/or attorneys can be “reasonable”, or they can be “strong” in their approach to a case and resolution. He didn’t see the holiday card as depicting ferocious vs. fearful, or even peaceful co-existence, but rather as representative of the two personas of what clients are “buying” from attorneys—and that creation of a balance makes for the best resolution. The client felt the card was simple but had a richness to it, and that its message resonated with him while going through the experience of divorce, as he sought a reasonable approach for all involved backed by the (lion’s) strength when appropriate.

Clients speak in many powerful ways if you listen. In thinking about my client’s comment regarding the holiday card, I realized how important it was for him to not just have legal representation and an advocate, but also to have representation and advocacy that comes with understanding and compassion and balance. It isn’t always so easy – and perhaps some clients want just the lion! However, divorce is not one-sided – there are always two parties with different needs and interests. Considering not just your own needs and interests, but those of the other party, and taking a balanced approach almost always results in a better negotiation and outcome.

Divorce is difficult and painful. We all know that. Yet you and your attorney don’t have to be solely lions or (the more passive) lambs. Out of court dispute resolution processes such as mediation and Collaborative Law, often provide a better environment and approach for bringing both the lion and the lamb “to the table” in the same room at the same time. Try it. You might find that the lion won’t eat you, and the lamb won’t get eaten. Instead, you will have a good balance for reaching a settlement that you, and your children and/or family, can live with and with which you can find peace — which is, after all, the message that comes with a holiday card.

Copyright 2014, Karen J. Levitt, all rights reserved.

Karen Levitt received high marks from Peers in 2014!

Karen Levitt has been honored by being selected as an AV Preeminent lawyer by Martindale-Hubbell, which is Martindale-Hubbell’s highest peer review rating in legal ability and ethical standards. For more information go to www.martindate.com/ratings .

Karen has also been selected for the 5th year in a row as one of the Best Lawyers in America and appeared in their 2014 edition, see www.bestlawyers.com. Finally, Karen has been selected as a “ Super Lawyer” in the area of Family Law in 2014-New England. This selection is made as a result of nomination by peers, third party research, and a further review process. For more information go to www.superlawyers.com

Levitt Law Group Participates in Salisbury Santa in December 2014

The Levitt Law Group participated for another year in the Salisbury Santa program sponsored by Elder Services of Merrimack Valley.

Levitt Law Group SantaAndrea Wells, Emily Weber, Jackie Leonardo, and Paula Dumont, along with our independent bookkeeper Gloria Makarevich, with the support of Karen Levitt and the Levitt Law Group, purchased Christmas items for a little boy and two little girls that will be distributed as part of the Salisbury Santa program. Paula and Gloria were our gift wrappers extraordinaire, as you can see! Our entire staff enjoys doing this, and we have participated now for a number of years. Thank you everyone for making the holiday a little better for some of our families in the Merrimack Valley.

Levitt a Guest Lecturer at Law School November, 2014

Karen was a guest lecturer at the Massachusetts School of Law at Andover, MA in November, where she spoke about Collaborative Law to a group of second and third year law students.

Karen was invited to speak by Paula Kaldis, Esq., Professor of Law, and Assistant Dean of the law school.  The law school course, entitled “Collaborative and Alternative Justice”,  focused on the theory, practice, and skills of law as a helping or healing profession. Students studied developments in the legal profession that provided alternatives to the  adversarial process, such as Collaborative Law in divorce.  Many of these alternatives to the traditional court process, like Collaborative Law, are interdisciplinary, and the focus on problem solving and resolution rather than “the fight”.  The students in the course came from many diverse backgrounds and professions before attending law school, and participated in a lively discussion with Karen about Collaborative Law and conflict resolution, not just in family law but in civil, criminal, and even international practice!  It was great to see the interest and excitement of the law students in talking about bringing different models of conflict resolution to their future legal endeavors.

 

Karen Levitt travels to Vancouver, Canada for IACP Conference in October, 2014

Karen Levitt attended the IACP Forum in Vancouver in October, both as a member of the Board of Directors of IACP and as a participant in the many wonderful educational programs offered in Collaborative Law, interest based negotiation, and alternative dispute resolution.

Karen also moderated a workshop entitled “Access to Collaboration in Action”. The workshop was a roundtable discussion about Access to Collaboration programs for low and modest means clients around the country, that are either developing or are in progress, many of which are on-site court programs or are affiliated with local law schools. Karen continues her work with IACP, as well as with MCLC here in Massachusetts. For more information go to www.collaborativepractice.com, and www.massclc.org.