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Workshops and Presentations

Join us at the European Family Law and Mediation Conference 28 March 2020 to 4 April 2020

The program has been designed for family lawyers and mediators across the globe and focusses on skills-based learning. 


Sessions will cover core professional development areas including Practical Legal Ethics, Practice Management and Business Skills and Professional Skills

As well as in depth workshops, the conference will feature keynote presentations from international family lawyers and mediators and an international ethics panel.

The Conference Schedule is as follows:

Saturday 28 March 2020 - Arrive in Paris. Optional dinner

Sunday 29 March 2020 - Optional Networking day in Epernay

Monday 30 March 2020 - Conference sessions in Paris (2pm - 6pm)

Tuesday 31 March 2020 - Conference sessions in Paris (2pm - 6pm)

Wednesday 1 April 2020 - Make your way to Bordeaux and join us for the Conference dinner

Thursday 2 April 2020 - Conference sessions in Bordeaux (12pm to 7pm)

Friday 3 April 2020 - Optional Networking day in St Emilion and optional dinner

Saturday 4 April 2020 - Conference sessions in Bordeaux and close of conference (12pm to 7pm)

Workshops and Presentations include:

Hardwired for Conflict.  Solution Focused Tips & Tools for a Brain in Conflict


Beryl McNeil – Canada

Family Lawyer, Mediator, Collaborative Trainer

What is going on in the brain when clients are deeply emotional and stuck in conflict? What are some practical tools and techniques that may be used to assist clients develop new neuro-pathways towards positive resolution? This workshop will provide an education on the neuro-science of the brain when it is in deep emotion and conflict and will address how a collaborative practitioner/ mediator can use powerful tools and questioning techniques that assist clients’ to access the highest functioning aspects of their brain to create positive resolution.


During this workshop participants will learn:

1. how deep emotion and conflict creates cognitive impairment and can keep clients stuck;

2. how the use of various questioning techniques, visuals, pictures, and timelines help clients become unstuck; and

3. how to apply the various questioning tools and techniques in practice.

Conflict to Collaboration


Shelby Timmins – Australia

Nationally Accredited Mediator, Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner and Collaborative Professional (and former family lawyer)

As a professional working in the family law space, how you understand, respond to and resolve conflict will limit or enable your ability to assist families in crisis.


This workshop  will cover the variety of sources of conflict:

-  Goals

-  Personality Conflicts

-  Scare Resources

-  Styles

-  Values


It will discuss how to sit with conflict, understand what is underlying it and embrace conflict as a source of resolution. We will look at Conflict Models and Conflict Management Styles, including:

-  Accommodating

-  Avoiding

-  Collaborating

-  Competing

-  Avoiding


We will hopefully reach a point where we see conflict as not only beneficial, but just plain necessary!


Take home message:


“The successful person has unusual skill at dealing with conflict and ensuring the best outcome for all.”

— Sun Tzu

The Mediation Recipe: In Search of the Essential Ingredients


Michael Keogh  - Australia

Mediator and Collaborative Professional (and former family lawyer)

Michael draws upon his extensive experience as a family lawyer and mediator to unveil the secrets of the mediation process. In an interactive workshop presentation he will bring into focus the various approaches used to conduct a successful mediation. He will challenge some of the myths that still haunt us in the mediation space and provide you with a refreshing perspective on the future of mediation as a primary dispute resolution process.

Doing Good and Doing Well; How to Make a Peacemaking Practice Profitable

Brian Galbraith – Canada

Family Lawyer, Mediator and Collaborative Law trainer

You are doing “good” with your peacemaker practice but are you doing well financially? This workshop will show you how you can do both.

It starts with working smarter, not harder. You need to work “on” your practice and not just “in” it.

This workshop will teach you:

  1. How to analyze your practice to determine its strengths and weaknesses: 

  2. How to transform your practice into a thriving business without abandoning your principles; and,

  3. Tips and tricks to bring in more clients, work more efficiently, improve your client experience and make more money.


You will leave with a first steps and a plan to get started.

Deepening Without Drowning: Accessing Hope, Managing Threats & Breathing Fresh Air

Jacinta Gallant – Canada

Family Lawyer, Mediator and Collaborative Law trainer

Have you ever been discouraged by the continuing, and sometimes escalating couple conflict at the collaborative or mediation table?  Do you sometimes feel like your case is drowning and you are desperate for air? 

In this workshop, we will learn how asking about the parties' hopes and diving deeply into their perceived threats helps bring in "fresh air". Working with the "Insight Approach" to conflict, we will learn to notice and respond to conflict behaviours rather than diagnosing what we think is “going on”. We will learn how to ask questions to unearth the threats that escalate conflict, and the hopes that led the couple to choose collaboration.  

Participants will learn:

·      New ways of thinking about conflict
·      New skills to notice conflict behaviour without judgment or assumption
·      How to ask about hopes in a productive and meaningful way; and 

·      How to ask about threats in a way that leads to improved dialogue.

International parental child abduction - current legislation, main issues and the role of mediation

Renata Padrao – Brazil

Lawyer and Senior Mediator

International Child Abduction is a recurrent issue concerning international families. The obstacles are found in every jurisdiction across the globe and its resolution are very complex taking into account current laws.

This workshop will look at role mediation has to play in cross-border disputes including not only studies proving that it is the most efficient mechanism to resort such cases, but also the pitfalls of this process taking into account the current legislation.

This will be a combined theory and practice workshop which will allow delegates to be aware of the importance of the subject, its particularities and how it can be better dealt.

An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound (or a Dollar/Euro) of Cure

Rachel Hernandez  - USA Family Lawyer, Mediator, Collaborative Lawyer and trainer

Chris Arnold - Canada Family Law, Collaborative Lawyer and lecturer in Collaborative Practice.


Major marital changes that can lead to conflict and divorce include having children, switching careers, assuming responsibility for an ailing family member, one person receiving and inheritance, major purchases and/or any other matter of significance to the couple.


In much the same way parenting agreements and marital settlement agreements are necessary for those dissolving a marriage, Mid-marital (postnuptial) agreements can provide the framework for restructuring a marital relationship when significant changes arise. Indeed, such agreements can pave the way to less conflict during transition or prevent divorce altogether!

Talking and Teaming :  The impact of the crazies.. why suffer alone?  

Marguerite Picard - Australia Collaborative Practice trainer, Accredited Family Law Specialist, Mediator and Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner

Dr Tina Sinclair - Canada Mental Health Professional, Collaborative Practice trainer

Much has been written, and learned, about the negative effects of occupational stress. Workers on the frontline in emergency services, policing, or first responders to natural, and man-made disasters, are often the victims of PTS, (post traumatic stress ) either directly due to their experiences, or, as in the circumstances of many social work case workers indirectly, through exposure to the family crises and clients with whom they work.  Workers in the family law arena – lawyers, mediators, forensic psychologists, child care workers, judges and so on, all potentially fall into this category of Vicarious Trauma sufferers.

This workshop will present data on occupational work stress and the factors that buffer or ameliorate stress.

It will  also examine different disciplines and to what extent interventions are customarily in place to assist minimize the occurrence of PTS phenomena. For example - What is the prevalence of supervision or mentoring?   Is it part of a family law culture to debrief, provide structured support or critical stress debriefings for critical cases?    Why not?

Finally, we will argue, that the best way to work – for clients as well as the professionals, is to team. Good teaming where you know ‘the team has your back’, with structured pre and post briefings built in to the process , optimizes the quality of the experience for clients and is a buffer against stress for the professionals.


Personalised rapport - The epigenetics of stress & relationships in family and law

Sharna Clermont – Australia

How you act toward others, and how they receive information is going to be different for everyone.


The latest epigenetics science now tells us that these differences are built into our genes, and getting it wrong can lead to increased stress, and decreased resilience.


Your natural strengths and your vulnerabilities can all be enhanced through a greater understanding of the genetic blueprint in your cells, and the influence they have on your behaviour, and the behaviour of those around you.


This workshop will go through the underpinning sciences of genetics, personality, and how to make the most of yours to bring out the best in others.


Trauma-Informed Practice and Family Law

Leanne Bamford – Australia

Social Worker, Family Consultant (Custody Evaluator)

This workshop will look at the neurobiology of trauma on the brain and its impact on family members experiencing divorce and separation.  Leanne will draw on knowledge from esteemed experts in this area, such as Professor Van de Kolk and Janina Fischer and Judith Herman to help us understand what trauma is, and how the brain responds to trauma, and what to expect and/or look for if we suspect our clients have been impacted by trauma.

The workshop will also explore the principals and practices of a trauma-informed approach to all facets of the lawyer/client relationship and in particular how you can utilise this process when mediating and/or using a collaborative approach to resolving your clients’ issues.

Finally, the workshop will explore the issue of vicarious trauma and the importance of understanding how this can impact on practitioners and how employers and employees (as well as colleagues and players within the family law arena) can adopt and practice a trauma informed approach to self-care and the wellness of those working in this highly emotive area.

The financial impacts of separation and how parties can move forward with their lives post divorce

Julie Gray - Australia

plus an International Ethics Panel and International Keynote Speakers

Download a copy of the Conference Brochure

Register, read more about our speakers and information about the conference locations.

Please note that due to the variables of international travel and speakers, and to ensure the best keynote speakers can be secured,  the day and time for each workshop is not published until the commencement of the conference and workshops and their timing remain subject to change.

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