Innovative and Strategic Use of Neutrals in Mediation

neutrals in mediation

Attorney Karen J. Levitt’s presentation at the 2019 fall joint conference of the Academy of Professional Family Mediators, Association of Divorce Financial Planners, and the Massachusetts Council on Family Mediation, with Susan M. Miller, CPA/PFS, CFP®, CDFA, Managing Director and Senior Wealth Advisor of The Colony Group, Wellesley, MA, and Karen Ela Kenny MSW, LICSW, of Nashua, NH, on “Innovative and Strategic Use of Neutrals in Mediation” was a success! Not only did 300 people attend the conference, but for the first time ever at this conference some of the presentations were selected to be live streamed and Karen’s workshop was one of them! The live streaming including attendance from coast to coast and around the world, including South Africa, Australia, Israel, Greece, France and Canada, for this first of its kind conference experience for a national mediation organization.

Pictured are Karen, Susan, and the “other” Karen at the conference after their presentation. The use of neutrals in mediation is often underutilized, and Karen wanted to share with participants how to identify what kind of neutral is needed, how to help the parties select the neutral, determining how best to work with the neutral and the clients in mediation, and learning how to be strategic as a mediator when using a neutral. The concepts provided at the presentation are also relevant to Collaborative Law and litigation. When using the term neutrals, it can encompass financial neutrals, vocational experts, business valuators, child specialists, and a myriad of other professionals to assist with specific issues in mediation. It can actually be less cost to clients to use a neutral for a particular purpose as the neutral is usually experienced and knowledgeable on a specific topic, and approaches the conflict from both parties’ points of view. The next APFM conference is this fall in Phoenix, Arizona, for more information go to www.apfmnet.org.