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I graduated from Western Carolina University in 1985 with a B.A. in Art History. While that might not have been the most lucrative field of study, and while it might not have afforded me an instant entree into the world of work, it certainly did propel me into a very good law school. I obtained my J.D. from UNC-Chapel Hill in 1990 and was admitted to the North Carolina Bar that same year.
My first work as a lawyer was in the field of civil litigation, with an early interest in Family Law. Along the way I worked in the field of Medical Malpractice Insurance Defense and defense of Big Tobacco. Upon my relocation to Massachusetts, I opted for a smaller town practice with the same commitment to excellent service (and less emphasis on "Big Tobacco"). I joined Graham & Harsip, P.C. in the same year that I was admitted to the Massachusetts Bar (1993). My practice in Massachusetts has been almost exclusively focused on Family Law.
In 1998, I left Graham & Harsip to open my own office in West Concord, doing business as Laura B. Graham, Esq., Divorce & Divorce Mediation. My interest in setting up my own practice grew from my desire to confine my practice to Divorce Mediation. By that time I had handled enough of the contested cases (some of them very "bad" divorces, custody battles, paternity actions, and modification actions) to see a disturbing trend - the "better" I did my job (meaning the more completely I was able to "win" for my client in court) the more likely I was to see that client as a repeat client - the more likely he or she was to need ongoing service in the face of repeat trips to court. I began to question whether "winning" weren't actually more akin to "losing" and, if so, what could I do differently?
I signed up for Divorce Mediation Training Associates' comprehensive 40 hour Divorce Mediation Training course and never looked back. Since that time I have attained Practioner Status with the Association for Conflict Resolution, am a member of the Massachusetts Bar Association (Family Law section), MCLE, and MCFM.org (the Massachusetts Council on Family Mediation), and am a founding member of the newly created Academy of Professional Family Mediators.
I am often asked if I find this work depressing. I love the work I do with people in transition. It may be a cliche but it's true: endings are the first step of every new beginning. Helping my clients find their next steps is always rewarding.
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|owner||Laura B. Graham, Divorce & Divorce Mediation||1998 - 2007|
|Associate||Graham & Harsip, P.C.||1993 - 1998|
|Associate||Newsom, Graham, Hedrick, Bryson & Kennon||1989 - 1991|
|Association name||Position name||Duration|
|The Academy of Professional Family Mediators||Founding Member||2012 - Present|
|Association for Conflict Resolution, Family Law Section||Practitioner status||N/A|
|Association for Conflict Resolution (New England chapter)||N/A||N/A|
|Massachusetts Council on Family Mediation||N/A||N/A|
|American Bar Association, Family Law Section, Dispute Resolution Section||N/A||N/A|
|Massachusetts Bar Association, Family Law Section||N/A||N/A|
|University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill||Law||JD - Juris Doctor||1990|