Mediation Lessons From a Former Music Professor/Martin Rosenfeld, JD

Posted on December 18, 2014


I just read an article about a Music Professor, Rebecca Oettinger, who became an attorney/mediator. Ms. Oettinger practices in Baraboo,Wisconsin. She turned towards mediation after concluding that the courtroom is no place for a family to attempt to resolve its differences. Why the interest in mediation? “I want to be a peacemaker.”

The emphasis on the Oettinger practice is on collaborative law where the parties are encouraged to take the long view. What would you like your life to be months or years down the road. Clearly this philosophy runs counter to the idea that the client must win at all costs. The article, appearing at the Baraboo News Republic, ends with this message from the world of music:”…[I]n divorce as in music, it requires two people doing their part to create harmony.”

The concept of harmony in a divorce proceeding is one that seems strange. Yet, the concept of harmony surely applies to a couple who share child-rearing. It should apply to all couples who want to come out of the experience in a manner that Ms. Oettinger refers to as being healthy. Harmony makes sense when things go well in a marriage. Perhaps this musician/mediator reminds us that harmony is also needed even as a couple goes through the painful and challenging process we know as divorce. Mediate don’t litigate.