NYSCDM Downstate Symposium
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NYSCDM Downstate Symposium


When: December 8, 2018
Where: New York Law School
185 W Broadway, New York, NY
United States

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Lessons from the Streets: 
Diffusing High-Conflict Disputes with Advanced Techniques
Useful in All Mediations

Saturday, December 8th
8:30 am to 4:40 pm

New York Law School
185 W Broadway, New York, NY
Directions, Transit Info, etc.


8:30 am Registration, Breakfast and Networking

9 am The Interrupter Model

Ricardo “Cobe” Williams Deputy Director, Cure Violence Cobe trains violence interrupters throughout the US and the world in mediation and conflict resolution strategies for Cure Violence. His work was chronicled in the award-winning film “The Interrupters” which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2011 and aired on PBS/FRONTLINE. Cobe has appeared on the TEDXstage, and spoken before Congress, the United Nations, the American Bar Association, the US Conference of Mayors and numerous colleges and universities. Cobe will explain the Cure Violence model for detecting and interrupting potentially violent conflicts. The model helps mediators recognize the early signs of high-risk situations and use pre-emptive strategies to diffuse tensions. When conflicts do occur, the model includes methods for de-escalating even the most high-risk situations. Throughout his presentation, Cobe will discuss how these strategies and techniques can be applied to high-conflict situations during divorce mediation.

11 am Break

11:15 am Insights, Strategies and Techniques for Mediating Complex Family Situations
(1.5 CLEs Pending)

Family Law and Divorce Mediators often encounter high-conflict situations and fear that standard mediation techniques are insufficient to address the needs of parties experiencing a heightened clash. Luckily, there are many diverse professionals with specific experience in addressing and diffusing high-conflict family situations, including scenarios that involve domestic violence and criminal histories. From first responders to service organizations, this panel will explore various models, strategies and tactics used on the front lines. Speakers will share their lessons learned and explain how divorce mediators can incorporate some of their methods.

Stacey Neumann, Esq. - Divorce mediator, Former Kings County Assistant District Attorney/First Deputy Bureau Chief

Patti D'Agostino - Co-founder and President of New Dawn Family Resource Center, Bi-lingual Paralegal Walk-In Clinic at Pace Women's Justice Center

Additional speakers to be announced.

12:30 Lunch & Networking

1:30 Ethical Considerations: What are the Limits on Confidentiality in High-Conflict Mediation?
(1.5 CLE Pending, 1.5 Mental Health CEs Pending)

When dealing with sensitive, high-conflict subject matter, there are different ethical considerations for mental health professionals, attorneys, et al. Issues surrounding mandated reporting, conflicts, confidentiality, and cross referrals to specialists, arise when parties have a history of criminal activity, substance abuse, or threats to physical safety. This panel will discuss the ethical dilemmas faced by members of different professional spheres, featuring a mental health professional mediator and an attorney professional mediator. 

Rachel Green Esq. – Resolutions Mediations Services, an accredited divorce mediator and NYSCDM Ethics Chair, will moderate this panel
Dan Burns Esq. – Burns Mediation, is an accredited divorce mediator, past NYSCDM president and former judge
Judie Stein PhD, LCSW – Stein Family & Mediation Center, a psychotherapist and divorce mediator

2:45 pm Break

3 pm Putting it Together: Mock Mediations
(2 CLEs Pending, 2 Mental Health CEs Pending) 

Professionals will demonstrate, via a fishbowl exercise/role play, how to mediate fact patterns that involve high-conflict scenarios including domestic violence, substance abuse, and criminal history. Two different fact patterns will mirror the themes of high conflict that were addressed throughout the program. Attendees will be able to comment and ask questions after each mock session. Speakers will comment on additional strategies. 

Helene Bernstein, Esq., Law and Mediation Office of Helene Bernstein, PLLC 
Barbara Rothberg, DSW, LCSW, Therapy, Coaching, Mediation and Parent Coordination 
Candi Fulop, Esq., Fulop Law 
Don Boice, LCSW, Boice Divorce Mediation and Counseling 
Rod Wells, Divorce Mediator

4:40 pm Closing Comments, Program Ends