Have you ever been frustrated working with clients who do not trust or do not understand “the system?”  Working with families can be difficult, as we all know.  Regardless of what role we serve (attorneys, therapists, ADR providers, judicial officers, financial neutrals), these challenges are more pronounced when our clients are reluctant to engage our services, and can be downright overwhelming when one or more party is self-represented.

The morning will start with a vibrant panel discussion about why people may be reluctant or fearful about engaging with the family law system.  The panel will address historic and current barriers to accessing and using services and legal processes within the system.  These barriers can be even harder to overcome when clients are self-represented.  Our featured speaker will discuss her ground-breaking work with self-represented litigants (“SRLs”), and how this affects “access to justice” throughout the family law system.  You will leave this conference with more insight regarding:

What causes people to feel wariness or mistrust for “the system?”

As professionals, what can we do to address perceptions of systemic unfairness?

In our various roles, what can we do to increase trust in the system and serve as ambassadors to the disenfranchised?

How can we work more effectively in our roles with clients, especially when one or both parties represent themselves?

This program is designed for all family law professionals, including:  attorneys, mental health providers, judicial officers, custody evaluators, ADR providers, ENE providers, coaches, and financial neutrals.

5.75 CLE/CEU/CJE Credits applied for.

Keynote Speaker: Julie Macfarlane

Julie Macfarlane is a Distinguished University Professor and Professor of Law at the University of Windsor.  The author of the bestselling “The New Lawyer:  How Settlement is Transforming the Practice of Law,” she is known for her empirical research on changing patterns in legal practice and especially conflict resolution.  Her current research and writing focuses on self-represented litigants and access to justice issues.

Conference Schedule
8:00 – 8:30 a.m.
Registration & Continental Breakfast

8:30 – 8:45 a.m.
Welcome & Introductions
Judy Sherwood

8:45 – 9:00 a.m.
Annual Meeting

9:05 – 10:30 a.m.
Unheard Voices:  Engaging with a System You Don’t Trust


Nahid Abuelhassan
Zak Chesson
Sarah Deer, Esq.
Rose McCullough
Brian Ulrich
Diana Villella Larson, Esq.

Moderator:  The Honorable Edward Wahl

10:30 – 10:45 a.m.

10:45 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
Keynote:  The Self-Represented Litigant Phenomenon:
Implications for Justice-Seekers and Justice ProviderS

Dr. Julie Macfarlane

12:15 – 1:00 p.m.

1:00 – 2:30 p.m.
The Self-Represented (SRL) Experience: The SRL Interactive Game

Game facilitated by Dr. Julie Macfarlane

2:30 – 2:45 p.m.

2:45 – 4:30 p.m.
The Way Forward: What can the Dispute Resolution Community Do and How Can We be Part of Change?

Discussion facilitated by Dr. Julie Macfarlane


4:30 – 6:00 p.m.


Conference Registration

Early Registration (Register by June 30, 2015)

Member: $155
Non-Member (Guardians ad Litem/Public Employees): $160
Non-Member (All Other Professions): $185

Regular Registration (After June 30, 2015)
Member: $180
Non-Member (Guardians ad Litem/Public Employees): $185
Non-Member (All Other Professions): $210

Student Registration (Including 2015 Graduates)

No Cost

Click here for Scholarship information.


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