Over the ten years that I’ve been a female entrepreneur, I haven’t purposely pursued women employees – it’s something that just happened.
Talented women, passionate about the law, just happen to apply for job openings as Transitions Legal has grown and expanded. As a result, I now have a team of incredible women serving our clients from an Insight-based Approach to family law.
First, I want to mention my Marketing Guru and long-time friend, Lynne Golodner, who has been with me since the start. I found Lynne through word-of-mouth, and hired her to help brand and form my law firm. For a decade, Lynne has directed and managed all things marketing for Transitions Legal – including our website, social media, blogs, e-blasts, events, and more!!
I’m so grateful to have Lynne’s values-focused approach to Marketing. She listens to my priorities, just as I listen to my clients. We share a desire to create original and unique campaigns that support our clients’ goals.
Kacie Pohlman, Associate Attorney
My Associate Attorney, Kacie Pohlman, joined the team last year, bringing an energy for family law and a desire to help people through tough times in their lives with legal finesse. In college, Kacie studied romantic relationships and group therapy, and relies on this knowledge to understand how people react to and manage conflict during divorce.
Zoe Fields, Office Manager
Zoe Fields has been a crucial part of the Transitions Legal team for several years now, and I’m sad to see her winding down her days with us as she prepares to finish law school and sit for the state bar! Of course, I’m super excited for Zoe’s next steps, too.
Sophia Bagnall, Legal Assistant
Thankfully, Sophia Bagnall joined our team earlier this year to step into Zoe’s shoes, and she’s off to a great start! Sophia keeps us all accountable, organized and efficient as the firm’s Legal Assistant.
With more than three decades of legal professional experience, I still couldn’t do all that I do without such a talented and dedicated team. It takes a village!
A 2018 study by the American Bar Association revealed that there is still widespread gender and racial bias in hiring, promoting, assigning and compensating attorneys in America. In fact, 58 percent of women attorneys of color and half of white women lawyers said they have been mistaken for administrative staff or janitors. Only seven percent of white male lawyers said the same.
If the legal profession is disproportionately populated by white men, then how can clients in need of legal support who find themselves in other racial or gender camps find adequate representation? How can their cases be adequately understood by those who take them on?
The American Bar Association offers a Bias Interrupters toolkit
The ABA study – titled You Can’t Change What You Can’t See – is an important step in identifying trends so that we can wake up our colleagues and ourselves and improve this profession for a diverse future. In the study, women of color reported the highest level of bias in almost every workplace process.
Whether it’s facing higher (double) standards than their white, male colleagues, having to work harder and longer for the same compensation and recognition, or being passed over for promotions, this profession is truly lagging behind in recognizing equity issues and acting on them.
In response to the findings, the ABA included a Bias Interrupters Toolkit in the survey report to help firms get up to speed.
While I am a woman and face some of these inequities, I understand that my colleagues of color face even more. All of us would benefit from learning about the experiences of our colleagues and also gaining training to improve workplaces, promote equity and fairness, and gain awareness of implicit biases that could impede fair representation for our clients.
Diversity and inclusion is a priority at the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers
Mr. Davis shares this important assertion from the interview:
“There’s a lack of understanding about cultural differences and what makes us different – which is really a pitfall. As a family law judge, you might have a crucifix on your bench. Might that make some people uncomfortable?”
“We have built-in cultural and implicit biases, and it’s hard to set aside biases that you may not even know that you have. We must continue to educate individuals about these biases.”
International Academy of Collaborative Professionals Has Been Nominated for A Nobel Peace Prize
BLOOMFIELD HILLS, Mich., Feb. 13, 2023 — The Nobel Peace Prize committee has named a global organization as one of its 2023 nominees, with one of its active members and leaders based here in metro Detroit.
Alisa Peskin-Shepherd, principal of Transitions Legal and a family law attorney who specializes in Collaborative Practice, serves on the equity and inclusion (IDEA) committee and the Grow Membership committee for the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals (IACP).
The Nobel committee nominated IACP for its global efforts in conflict resolution. The Transitions Legal team brings these practices and perspectives to southeast Michigan family law cases.
As IACP Past President Francesca King of Milan, Italy states: “when you promote peaceful resolutions in family conflicts, you are promoting the growth of peace in society as a whole.”
Collaborative Practice is a unique dispute resolution model which provides families the opportunity to reduce the negative impacts of separation by working cooperatively with teams of specially trained legal, financial and mental health professionals who educate, support, and guide couples toward respectful resolutions, without resorting to litigation or acrimony.
As a global nonprofit organization with a longstanding history as the largest community of Collaborative Professionals, IACP has members in more than 28 countries.
“I am honored to be a part of this groundbreaking organization,” says Alisa Peskin-Shepherd, a Michigan divorce attorney who specializes in Collaborative Practice. “Not only have I found like-minded professionals around the world to collaborate with and learn from – but I have the opportunity to learn the latest approaches to improve interpersonal relations. This promotes a ripple effect of peace in families and communities.”
The Internationally-renowned and historic Nobel Peace Prize was first stipulated to be awarded to the person “who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.” Since 1901, its significance has evolved and been awarded in recognition of many kinds of peace work and concepts of peace that aim to create a more organized and peaceful world.
Peskin-Shepherd notes that when a court gets involved in a family’s dissolution, it can escalate conflicts as well as anxiety and stress. “Removing the court from the divorce process reduces the level of tension between spouses,” she notes. “Collaborative Practice leads to positive outcomes for the family and also shows sparring spouses how to better communicate, relate and work together on behalf of their family – which is a powerful lesson for their children and future generations.”
IACP, Collaborative Professionals, and Collaborative Groups internationally hopes this Nobel Peace Prize Nomination will help create global awareness and access to Collaborative Practice as a normalized dispute resolution model for anyone who seeks it, regardless of family structure, race, age, sexual orientation, gender, class, ability, language, and geography.
About Transitions Legal
With more than 30 years of experience, Alisa Peskin-Shepherd founded Transitions Legal, a Bloomfield Hills, Mich.-based family law firm, in 2013. She brings a “mediative” approach to legal practice, a term she coined to refer to a state of doing what is best for all involved — rather than letting anger and emotions lead.
Recognized as a Super Lawyer every year since 2015, and DBusiness Magazine Top Lawyer since 2011, Peskin-Shepherd has been named a Leader in the Law by Michigan Lawyers Weekly, known for excellence in legal practice and one of the top female lawyers in Michigan. An approved Mediator and Collaborative Divorce practitioner, she has special training in domestic violence through the State Bar of Michigan Open Justice Commission.
From full Collaborative Divorce and Litigation cases to Limited Scope Representation, Transitions Legal serves clients in Southeast Michigan. The firm’s Insight-based approach includes a realistic perspective of potential outcomes based on client priorities.
Transitions Legal is located at 4190 Telegraph Road, Suite 3100, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan 48302; 248-290-0560; www.transitionslegal.com.
International Academy of Collaborative Professionals: The International Academy of Collaborative Professionals (IACP) is a global resource for learning about and promoting Collaborative Practice, a constructive, healthy approach to creating client-focused processes for resolving conflict. While most members are legal, mental health, or financial professionals, IACP welcomes anyone who supports the vision of the Collaborative Practice movement. For more information on the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals or to find a Collaborative Professional near you, visit IACP’s website at https://www.collaborativepractice.com/.
My brilliant marketing guru Lynne Golodner pitched the idea to coincide with Valentine’s Day because media outlets are always looking for new ways to tell old stories. Forget flowers and chocolates – let’s invite a divorce attorney on the air to discuss how to show love to your ex.
Here is the very first “Loving Divorce” TV interview that I did, in 2013!
The idea was crazy enough to work, and we repeated it several times over the past decade, with great success. It’s not as crazy an idea as you might think. While at first blush, it seems like love is the last thing you might have for someone who broke your heart or whom you left, but hear me out.
Love can be preferential attachment – I choose you! – like we see in movies and romance novels. Or it can be something deeper, different and lasting. Love as universal identification – I see the humanness in you, and hope you see it in me.
When you’ve lived life with someone, whether for two years or twenty, there was good. You can’t deny it. Something drew you together, something kept you going, there were happy times and passionate moments and true partnership, even if it was brief.
Photo by Courtney Clayton on Unsplash
When we break up, though, we forget all the good and linger in the bad. We belabor the bad, frankly. We change the narrative so that the bad is the ONLY narrative of this love story, forever more.
That’s not fair to your history, and it’s certainly not fair to your partner. Yes, blocking out happy memories makes it easier to leave and easier to move on. But we must allow ourselves to embrace the whole story of our relationships in order to make peace with them and to learn how to do it better the next time around.
And, if you have children together, learning this way of loving your ex – your co-parent – is super important!! It’s not healthy for the children, nor for either of you, to stay mad at each other for years on end. To be bitter and resentful, to lash out every time you face a decision, an issue or an event where you both have to show up to shepherd your children through.
Accepting a different definition of LOVE for your ex-spouse, for the other parent of your children, for the person whose blood also runs through your children’s veins, well, it’s an act of generosity. Humility. Courage. And one that I encourage all my clients to consider.
Just as it’s a choice to remain married and devoted to a partner, it is a choice to look at an ex with fondness, with respect, or with disdain. You get to choose. Every single day. Just make the right choice.
January has been dubbed “Divorce Month” in some circles because of the surge in divorce filings that happen after the new year. If you’re going to call it quits in 2023, here’s what you need to know and do to be prepared!
Decide HOW you want to divorce.
Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unspla
From Mediation to Collaborative Divorce to duking it out in Court, there are many ways to end a marriage. I prefer the first two options for my clients rather than Litigation because of the responsiveness, flexibility and respect Mediation and Collaborative Divorce can offer to couples. Yes, you’re splitting – but that doesn’t mean you have to do it viciously. Mediation and Collaborative Divorce offer more peace-focused, work-together ways to break up than appearing before a judge in a cold courtroom, virtually, and waiting for her to make decisions about you and your family. How you divorce can determine how you move forward after your divorce – especially if you have children.
Find an attorney.
Do your research online, ask friends for recommendations, check out attorney websites and make a short list of practitioners who seem to match your vibe and desired approach. Then email or call to set up introductory meetings to determine if the chemistry will work for you!
Photo by Kenny Eliason on Unsplash
Not only the dollars you’ll lay out for representation, but the cost to your mental health if you choose a less responsive, more cantankerous approach. Identifying your priorities and values will help guide you to the right way to divorce, and if you choose a less combative path, you’ll likely pay less – not only in fees to experts, but in your time and well-being.
Get your house in order.
Before you divorce, you should have a sense of the assets in your marriage – including values, deeds and documentation for your house and other collective property. Gather documents for investments, businesses, tax returns, and other assets in advance. Come to the table prepared with information!
Learn the laws.
It never hurts to do a little online surfing to find out what the laws are in your state regarding divorce, custody, parenting time and marital assets. And of course, talk to your attorney about the laws. That way, you walk into the divorce process with realistic expectations for how your life might look after the split.
Do some career planning.
Whether you’ve worked the whole time or stayed at home raising kids, it’s wise to build a post-divorce budget, establish your own credit and financial accounts, and look for the type of work that will allow you to live on your own once your marriage ends. Don’t worry or be afraid – planning and researching can erase anxiety and concerns, and help you create a workable plan for your future. You may have to change your lifestyle, but at least you’ll know what you’re walking into!
You may want the divorce, or you may be hurt and angry that your spouse initiated the split – either way, do your best to get along, be kind and do not lash out. A divorce ignites lots of emotions – good people are often at their worst when going through a divorce. Keep your eye on the ball – a happy and livable outcome for you and your children, yes, even your adult children – and choose behaviors and words that will get you there.