1. I will start with the most obvious reason. Being trained to be a Collaborative practitioner gives you greater latitude in the professional services you can offer your clients. You can go from an ADR practitioner who only performs mediation services to one who is a Collaborative professional as well.
2. Clients often do some internet research before they see us. Some will ask what we think about the Collaborative process. After training in the Collaborative process, we obtain a broader base of knowledge from which to better advise them.
3. The attorneys in most, if not all, sates have CLE requirements. At times we take courses because they fit into our schedule, are part of a package, etc. Rarely do we think of introducing a new practice concept into our lives. By taking a Collaborative course, we fulfill our requirements while simultaneously enriching our lives by learning a new way of engaging in ADR activity.
4. For many of us, mediation training is a bit of a distant memory. Taking a new course which incorporates mediation principles and insights will remind us of what we once learned and will update us in new mediation developments. The course may serve to remind us why we decided to become mediators. That per se is a great reason to take this training.
5. Many of us go to conferences. We do not have the time to engage some of the new people we see, nor to learn much from one another. We talk more and more in sound bytes. In my course, we had ten students. After 2 days, we all realized how much we had learned from each other and from the differing ways we currently practice.
6. Learning new things is fun. At a class, we put our phones on silent and learn to forget about deadlines and the demands of our practices for a few days. We get to cheer on colleagues during role plays and brainstorming sessions. You truly do not get to do this by sitting passively in a lecture hall.
7. Every trainer has their unique talent and humanity from which we can learn. Sometimes we hear one casual statement that will remain embedded in our minds for the duration of our professional, and personal, lives.
8. We do so much for our clients but perhaps never think of what we do for ourselves. Taking a collaborative course is an engaging process. Learning and sharing ideas is a refreshing thing to do. If you prefer a larger class, they are available. Prefer a smaller class? They too can be identified.
Training in Collaborative practice is something you will do for many reasons. But do consider that you are truly doing it for yourself. A good trainer will help you advance in your professional and personal life. The wisdom and enthusiasm is out there. Taking a training course is one way to tap into that source of energy. It is a two or three-day commitment. Ponder making such a decision. You will likely never regret it.
Martin Rosenfeld is a mediator and family law attorney in Fair Lawn, NJ. He has written and lectured on mediation topics. His field of specialization is Divorce Mediation. Martin is on the NJ Roster of approved mediators. In his spare time, Martin is a substitute teacher for the Bergen County (NJ) Special Services Program, for special needs children and adults.