Suzanne Brunsting

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95 Allens Creek
Building 2, Suite #3
Rochester, NY 14618
USA
(585) 244-4239

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Description of Practice

After more than thirty years as a family law and matrimonial attorney, my practice is limited to Collaborative Practice and Mediation. I believe that people facing separation and divorce should be given the opportunity to choose a process for resolving their differences that honors their participation and trusts their ability to make the best decisions for themselves and their families. As a collaborative lawyer, mediator and settlement advocate, I help couples divorce intelligently and creatively, considerate of one another and of their children.

Professional Background

English Teacher before law school; general civil practice in Pennsylvania for 6 years with first mediation training during that time; Monroe County Legal Assistance Program, then private practice at Davidson Fink in Rochester, NY for 14 years (partner for 10 years), with second and third mediation trainings during this time; sole practitioner providing mediation and collaborative law services only since 2004.

Experience

I have experience for more than 35 years helping clients resolve disputes. As a litigator for 20 years, I helped settle more than 95% of my cases; as a mediator and collaborative lawyer (exclusively since 2004), at least 95% of my cases have been able to be resolved without litigation. My first 40-hour mediation training was in 1985 with skill training for mediation and collaborative law ongoing. Since that time, my legal education and experience has included workshops and courses in mediation, settlement advocacy and collaborative skills. Since 2001, I have taught collaborative law theory, ethics and skills throughout the United States and Canada.

Degrees

BA University of Arizona 1972 Juris Doctor University of Arizona 1981

Training

Dates    Trainer(s)    Title   
1985    Judge Lawrence W. Kaplan    Mediation Training 40 hours
1994    American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers    Mediation Training 20 hours
1997    American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers    Mediation Training 20 hours
2007    Harvard Negotiation Insight Initiative    Conflict Resolution Advanced Training 40 hours
2010    Sharon Ellison    Non-Defensive Communication 14 hours
2011    Dillon, Crumb and Danehy    Conflict Resolution and Mediation Theory 7 hours
2003    Christine Hickey    Collaborative Mediation Training 20 hours
2014    Kate Scharff and Lisa Herrick    Navigating Emotional Currents in Collaborative Divorce 7 hours

Approach

I offer clients a free half hour to talk about process choices so that each person has a comfort level and knowledge base to move forward. From the kitchen table, to mediation, to collaborative law, to court-based settlement and to litigation - this is not a one-size fits all choice. How much support do you need to be fully informed and feel confident as you negotiate family law issues and transitions? Would a financial professional or child specialist enhance the opportunity for healing and full settlement? I also work closely with other mediators as a consulting collaborative lawyer when clients need additional help and resources to reach agreement. I believe that with the appropriate support, most people are able to navigate through separation and divorce without resort to the courts. As difficult as it might be at this time, the choices you make at the beginning of a process to separate or divorce will in large part determine the way your separation or divorce turns out, what kind of relationship you have in the future and how your children adjust. The guiding principle of Collaborative Law Practice and Mediation is respect and the respectful atmosphere in the room encourages understanding, compassion and cooperation. Collaborative Professionals and Mediators are specially trained in supporting constructive conversations and providing structure for non-adversarial negotiations.

Fees

There is a free half hour session to discuss process choice. Thereafter, I charge $330 per hour. Often, a neutral financial professional and/or child specialist can bring their expertise to the process and reduce my fees. Because I am a lawyer licensed to practice in New York, I can integrate the preparation of the net worth statement and settlement agreement that will form the basis of the divorce. I refer clients to individual attorneys for review and consultation and for preparation of the judgment roll for divorce.

Areas of Practice

  • Divorce (all issues) (800 collaborated)
  • Divorce (parenting)
  • Family (20 collaborated)
  • LGBT (8 collaborated)
  • Marital Mediation
  • Pet Mediation
  • Prenuptial (12 collaborated)

Professional Services

  • Mediator
  • Communication Skills Trainer
  • Mediation Consultant
  • Representational Lawyer
  • Conflict Coach
  • Mediating Lawyer
  • Collaborative Professional
  • Facilitator

References available upon request.