Jennifer Gunnin: Working With A Peacemaking Collaborative Attorney

My paralegal, Jennifer Gunnin, has now been with my firm for over 3 years.  She was with me when I was still accepting litigation work, and so she saw the toll that lengthy, nasty court battles had on divorcing spouses and their children.

And she has seen the transition of my practice.  In July of last year (2015), on the fifth anniversary of my shingle being hung, we changed the name of the business from The Law Firm of Adam B. Cordover, P.A., to Family Diplomacy: A Collaborative Law Firm.  Further, we pledged that we would not take on any new litigation cases, and that we would focus exclusively on helping clients resolve their family law matters outside of court via collaborative practice, mediation, and unbundled legal services (we also offer adoption and name change legal services).


Since we shifted our focus to private dispute resolution, Jennifer attended a two-day basic collaborative training (one that is usually reserved for attorneys, financial professionals, and mental health professionals) so that she could better understand the process and help our clients who are utilizing the collaborative process.

One day, my office received a call from Forrest (Woody) Mosten, an internationally acclaimed mediator and collaborative attorney from California, about an American Bar Association book that he and I are co-authoring on Building A Collaborative Law Practice.  Jennifer picked up the phone, and they talked about the new focus of our firm, her training, and what it was like to work in a newly courtless practice.  Woody suggested that she write an article on Working With A Peacemaking Collaborative Attorney.

And so she did.

You can find her article published at The World of Collaborative Practice Magazine, part of which is published below the jump.

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Cordover Provides Continuing Education at Tampa Accounting Firm

Florida’s Department of Business & Professional Regulation Division of Certified Public Accounting requires CPAs to complete a certain amount of continuing education units to remain licensed.

On May 3, 2016, Family Diplomacy managing attorney Adam B. Cordover, alongside collaborative professionals Sonya Johnson and Monica Epstein, provided continuing education units for the accountants of Cohen & Grieb, P.A.  Cordover, Johnson, and Epstein gave a workshop on “Collaborative Family Law: The Smart Alternative to Courtroom Divorce.”

The workshop, held during National Small Business Week, focused on the effects that divorce can have on small businesses, and how collaborative family law can help ameliorate those effects.

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Cordover Conducts 2-Day Introductory Collaborative Divorce Training in Manatee County

The International Academy of Collaborative Professionals promulgates Minimum Standards to hold oneself out as a collaborative professional.  Those standards include a requirement that each collaborative professional attend a 2-day introductory collaborative training where they learn the process, skills, theories, and ethics of collaborative practice.

On April 29-30, Family Diplomacy managing attorney Adam B. Cordover conducted an introductory training, alongside internationally renowned collaborative trainer and Licensed Mental Health Counselor Anne R. Lucas of Kirkland, Washington, and highly experienced collaborative financial neutral and Certified Public Accountant/Accredited in Business Valuation Kristin DiMeo of Tampa, Florida.

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Jennifer Gunnin Guest Speaker at Collaborative Staff Training

Family Diplomacy is proud to announce that our own paralegal, Jennifer Gunnin, is scheduled to be a guest speaker at a unique collaborative training geared towards managing attorneys and staff: Managing Your Collaborative Practice for Passion & Profit.  The training is hosted by Joryn Jenkins of Open Palm Law and also includes a guest appearance by internationally renowned collaborative lawyer and mediator Forrest (Woody) Mosten.

Managing Your Collaborative Practice for Passion & Profit is taking place this Friday, January 22, from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Eastern Time at the Hillsborough County Bar Association building, located at 1610 North Tampa Street, Tampa, Florida 33602.  Registrants may also attend via live stream over the internet.

Below is from a recent flyer:

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Collaborative Training for Family Law Staff

When a potential client calls your firm, who is the first person with whom she speaks?  When a potential clients arrives at your office, who is the first person that he sees?  If you are a collaboratively-trained attorney, mental health professional, financial professional, or mediator, there is a good chance that your staff is the first voice that a potential client hears, the first face that a potential client sees.

How is that staff member representing you?  Is that first interaction being used as an opportunity to familiarize the client with the term “collaborative practice?”

Joryn Jenkins

Those first interactions are but one of the many different skills that a friend and mentor of mine, Joryn Jenkins, will discuss in her unique collaborative training geared towards professional staff.

The training will take place in Tampa, Florida, on January 22, and it will also be streamed live for professional staff that is outside of the area.

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Cordover Guest Speaker at Nova Southeastern University

Tampa Collaborative Family Law Attorney Adam B. Cordover was a guest speaker at Nova Southeastern University’s 3-Day Collaborative Training, held November 6-8.  Adam spoke on the topic of “Troubleshooting the Collaborative Divorce Roadmap.”

Attorneys, Mental Health Professionals, and Financial Professionals attended the training, though there was also a large contingent of mental health students.  This conference was meant to kick start a groundbreaking program/clinic where the students would team up with professionals and offer collaborative divorce services to veterans.

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Money Talk 1010 AM: Cost Savings of Collaborative Divorce Compared to Trial Divorce

I recently was at the St. Petersburg studios of Money Talk 1010 AM with fellow attorney Joryn Jenkins to discuss, among other things, how a collaborative divorce tends to make more financial sense then going through the traditional courthouse divorce.  The discussion was facilitated by Let’s Talk Law’s Roxanne Wilder and sponsored by Next Generation Divorce.

The radio program begins around the 5:30 mark after the jump below.

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Podcast: Linda Solomon Discusses September St. Petersburg Collaborative Training

Recently, Linda Solomon, a Licensed Professional Counselor, appeared on the Divorce Without Destruction podcast to talk about the unique introductory collaborative training that she and the Lone Star Trainers are putting together for both civil law and family law professionals.  The training will take place September 11-12, 2015, at the beautiful St. Petersburg Yacht club in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Attorneys, mental health professionals, financial professionals, and mediators can learn more and sign up here.

For those who don’t know, Linda Solomon is one of the founders of the Neutral Facilitator model of collaborative practice that is most commonly used here in Florida.

You can listen to the podcast after the jump.

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International Academy of Collaborative Professionals Educational Forum

I am president of Next Generation Divorce, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and Florida’s largest collaborative practice group.  Next Generation Divorce is composed of over 130 members who are attorneys, mental health professionals, and financial professionals dedicated to helping families resolve divorce and family law issues privately and respectfully, through the collaborative process.  Next Generation Divorce’s practitioners cover the Greater Tampa Bay area, with offices in Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Sarasota, and Manatee Counties.

Forumhighlights WebMembers of Next Generation Divorce are also required to register with an umbrella organization, the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals (“IACP”).  The IACP has over 5,000 members of various disciplines working in at least 27 different countries.  And, every year, the IACP puts together a massive conference, the Forum, which helps collaborative professionals refine their skills and learn advance topics in collaborative practice.

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Video: Linda Solomon And The Neutral Facilitator Collaborative Divorce Model

Collaborative divorce has one simple requirement: The spouses must each retain attorneys who focus solely on helping them reach an agreement on all issues.  The collaborative attorneys are private problem-solving specialists, and they cannot be used in contested court hearings.  This requirement creates a safe, non-adversarial environment so that each spouse knows that the other spouse’s attorney is not attempting to gather information to use against him or her later in court.  It also ensures that resources are directed towards helping the clients reach an agreement rather than wasted in opposition research or dirty trial tactics.

There are many different models of collaborative divorce that are used throughout the world.  The model that is most frequently used here in Florida involves one neutral facilitator, who generally has a mental health background, and one neutral financial professional.  This model was created in Texas by, among others, Linda Solomon, a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist.

You can learn more about Linda Solomon and the beginning of this model in the video below from Cutting Edge Law:

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