My Passion Is Family Mediation and Conflict Resolution
Growing up, my mom was a therapist, and I learned early on how important our feelings can be in our relationships, and that we need to tell other people how we feel or they won’t know what needs to be changed. I had initially thought about following in my mom’s footsteps and becoming a therapist, but I was also really interested in the law and problem-solving. I had also always done a lot of work with kids and families, from babysitting when I was young, to working as a camp counselor to teaching religious school and youth group programs between college and law school.
While I was in law school at Chapman University, I completed my basic and advanced mediation training and began mediating civil cases in the Riverside Superior Court. Additionally, I assisted the Riverside Courts Alternative Dispute Resolution Office in implementing a Juvenile Mediation program at Juvenile Hall for the residents. Working with these children and teenagers to teach them effective methods of problem-solving and dispute resolution that wouldn’t land them back in jail made me realize how important a tool conflict resolution is and I knew that I wanted to make mediation my career. I first met Jennifer when I interned for her in law school and after working together for a few years we knew the time was right to venture out on our own in 2015. In 2021 we co-founded West Coast Family Mediation Center to continue growing and working with families all throughout California to resolve, rebuild, and renew their lives.
When I’m not working I am super active, whether that means going for a run, doing yoga, or a spin class on the Peloton. On the weekends my husband Mike and I enjoy spending time outdoors hiking or taking our dog Toby to run around at dog beach. We also enjoy traveling to new places (our last big trip was Thailand and Singapore) to take photographs and try new foods. When we’re home we love to cook new dishes or recreate dishes we’ve had while traveling or eating out. I also love spending time with my 6-year-old niece, friends, and family.
Why I chose to work in mediation
During my senior year at Brandeis University, I took one of my last classes for my legal studies, a minor on mediation, negotiation, and conflict resolution. This class is what really turned me on to mediation and made me realize that there was a career option that would allow me to blend the emotional skills required to negotiate conflict with practical problem-solving. When I applied to law school, I only applied to schools that had dispute resolution programs. This way, I could not only get my law degree, but also take classes in mediation and conflict resolution. I was determined not to be in graduate school for longer than three years, so I worked on completing my JD at Chapman University School of Law while earning my Masters in Dispute Resolution (MDR) from the Straus Institute of Dispute Resolution at Pepperdine University School of Law. While I was completing both of these degrees, I was able to learn more about the law as well as better understand conflict, how people deal with conflict and ways to resolve it. Soon after graduating with Masters and JD I also became a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst to further my education around the financial issues couples face in divorce.
I knew then as I know now that family law is an area where people greatly benefit from mediation because couples getting divorced are going through tremendous changes in their lives. The court does not have the time, energy, or resources to effectively work with each couple to recognize this and help them move forward. Mediation, on the other hand, honors the emotions that they are feeling about what they are going through. It assists them in moving forward, not only through the legal process but also in strategizing ways to effectively maintain a relationship—and not hate each other at the end of the process. This is especially beneficial when kids are involved.
My community involvement
I serve as Vice President of the Academy of Professional Family Mediation (APFM), the premiere family mediation association in North America. I have also been a co-chair for the APFM annual conference for five years in a row, and have presented at the last six conferences on various topics related to family mediation. Additionally, I am the Vice President of Finance and Fundraising for Lawyers Club of San Diego, finishing up my three-year board term this year. I am also a member of the Institute of Divorce Financial Analysts, the State Bar of California, the American Bar Association, San Diego County Bar Association, San Diego Family Law Bar Association and ProVisors.
|Co-Founder and Professional Family Mediator||West Coast Family Mediation Center||2021 - Present|
|Professional Family Mediator||The Divorce Help Clinic||2013 - 2015|
|Extern||North County Family Law Facilitator Office||2013 - 2013|
|Professional Family Mediator/Co-Owner||San Diego Family Mediation Center||2012 - 2020|
|Association name||Position name||Duration|
|Academy of Professional Family Mediators||Vice President and Conference Chair||2016 - Present|
|San Diego Family Law Bar Association||Member||2015 - Present|
|Institute of Divorce Financial Analysts||Member||2015 - Present|
|Lawyers Club of San Diego||Board Member||2013 - Present|
|San Diego County Bar Association||Member||2013 - Present|
|Mogul Media||Putting Kids First in Divorce: How to Reduce Conflict, Preserve Relationships and Protect Your Children During and After Divorce||2016|
|Chapman Univ SOL||JD - Juris Doctor||2013|
|Pepperdine University School of Law||MA - Masters||2013|
|Brandeis Univ||BA - Bachelor of Arts||2007|
|2017 APFM Conference||How to Make Mediation Your Day Job||2017|
|Family Law Mediations - Dealing with Emotions and Relationships||Family Law Mediations||2015|
|APFM 2015||How to Mediate without every Having Litigated||2015|
|APFM 2014 Conference||Same Sex Mediation||2014|
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Thu May 11 2017
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Tue May 09 2017
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Fri May 05 2017
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