Alternative Dispute Resolution

Mediation and Conciliation

Kempthorne is a court-certified conciliator. She has volunteered in both the federal courts and in Essex Superior since 2004, and has privately mediated numerous civil disputes, including business, personal injury, and real estate cases. Conflict between neighbors, co-owners, or co-habitants is an area of special interest.

In mediation, the parties own both the process and the resolution.

Having spent more than 30 years litigating civil and criminal cases in state and federal courts, I know that litigation is rarely the best approach to resolving conflict. Litigation leaves one party, and sometimes both parties, feeling unheard, its position misunderstood, and therefore unable or unwilling to accept the legitimacy of the outcome. In situations where the parties may or must continue to deal with each other, the litigation process itself, as well as the court-ordered outcome, is likely to damage if not destroy the parties' ability to communicate productively.

My approach to mediation is facilitative rather than evaluative. I respect the process that enables disputing parties to come to their own result rather than imposing my own view of a just outcome. Who better than the parties can say what they can live with, whether and what compromise is feasible, or what a right and fair outcome might be?

That said, there is a role for reality-testing. Parties may need help understanding the available remedies afforded by the legal system. A party's assessment of the likelihood of reaching the desired outcome may be unrealistic. Sometimes the parties need help developing alternative, realistic, feasible outcomes.

I bring to the role of conciliator and mediator a strong foundation in over three decades of legal practice. My experience in business and commercial litigation, environmental litigation, and securities fraud allow me to add value to the mediation process, not by passing judgment on the validity of claims, not by arm-twisting, but by helping the parties evaluate the risks associated with alternatives to a negotiated result, reframing the conflict, and suggesting feasible outcomes.

In addition to my training at Metropolitan Mediation Services, I have also completed graduate coursework in negotiation and the psychology of conflict resolution. I have assisted in training court conciliators in Essex County, and I continue to deepen my understanding of how to help people re-engage in productive communication through experience, private study and workshops.