Nashville, TN 37215
Areas of Practice
- Collaborative Law Practice
- $300 per hour, First half-hour at no charge for consultation.
Law License State of Tennessee 1976
- B.A., M.A.T German , University of Kansas
- JD Nashville School of Law 1976
Experience : I served as a Judge of the Circuit Court for 16 years, handling family cases and civil jury trials from 1990 to 206. I have been a private mediator and collaborative attorney for the past 13 years.
- 15 Hour Training, August 2009 Vanderbilt Law School
- 15 Hour Training, June 2010 Vanderbilt Law School, Chip Rose, Trainer
- IACP National Conference 2011, 2013
- 15 Hour Training August 2012 Lipscomb University, Chip Rose,Trainer
- 15 Hour Training Introduction to Interdisciplinary Collaborative Practice with Victoria Smith, Sheila Brown, and Jane Tremblay (2013)
- 20 Hour Training Collaborative Training and Advanced Collaborative Training June 2016.
- 15 Hour Advanced Training Collaborative Training (2019)
In 1990 when I was elected Judge of Davidson County's Circuit Court, I promised to introduce
mediation to the courts in Tennessee and to the practice of law. I hoped that divorcing families might use mediation to avoid the pain and expense of bickering attorneys, interrogatories, and depositions. I believed that many divorcing parties could sit across the table from one another and with the help of a neutral mediator, craft their own divorce and write the introduction of the next chapter of their lives.
My hopes were disappointed when attorneys began to use mediation as a mini-trial with the mediator as a mock judge. In mediation as is generally practiced in Middle Tennessee, the parties do not negotiate sitting across the table from one another. They are separated. The lawyers remain in charge, not the parties, and usually, expensive painful interrogatories and depositions occur before the mediation.
After I witnessed this corruption of mediation, I began to imagine another way. It was then that I discovered collaborative practice and collaborative divorce. I brought the first collaborative training to Middle Tennessee . I retired from being a judge in order to reform the practice of divorce mediation in Middle Tennessee and bring collaborative practice as an alternative to litigation.
Litigation can inspire over zealous advocacy and bring chaos into the family . In collaborative practice it is more likely that goodwill and mutual respect can become part of your co-parenting future. The respectful process of collaborative practice will help ensure that parents can attend their children's life events - graduation from elementary school at age eight, marriage at age twenty-five, without tension and acrimony between the parents infecting the atmosphere of these occasions.
A collaborative divorce requires that both partners bring their best selves to the negotiating table. Many couples don't have the maturity and emotional resources for the collaborative process. Rather than dwelling in the past, looking for blame or operating from fear, collaborative practice invites you to become part of a team in which all members search together for a divorce solution that works best for you and your family. The graceful dance of the collaborative team can bring you through one of your life's most difficult moments with your dignity and grace intact.
I n my work, I bring my zeal to empower you, the client, first, not me or the judge . I also bring my faith in you that you know best how to solve your problems and resolve your disputes. And I bring my years of experience as an attorney, judge, mediator and practitioner in collaborative law practice.
I have served on the Supreme Court Alternative Dispute Resolution Commission, helped write the rules for the practice of mediation and collaborative law, which will likely pass in 2016. I helped found and was on the board of the Tennessee Association of Professional Mediators. I was honored to receive the Grayfred Gray award for service and contributions to mediation in Tennessee. I have been a frequent presenter to NBA, TBA, NBI, DRI , M. Lee Smith, and an assistant trainer for Rule 31 Training at Lipscomb University, Family Law Mediation. I served on the NBA Board of Directors.
I ran for judge because I thought the legal system too often served the attorneys and not the clients. I left the bench and re-entered the practice of law for the same reason. Mediation had become a lawyers' tool and empowered them and not the parties. In private practice, I hoped to use collaborative law to give power back to parents, families and clients.
I am married to Dr. David McMillan, a psychologist, who also mediates cases and serves as a parent coordinator and a coach for collaborative cases. We have two dogs named Greta and Billye Sue, who get along very well, despite their age difference.
I would be honored to join you on a collaborative practice team to help you and your family move peacefully from your present intact family to one of two well-functioning families .