Antiracism in Family Law

Antiracism in Family Law

Antiracism in Family Law


Dr. David Campt

As a member of the IACP Diversity and Inclusion Committee, I’ve been learning how to take steps toward true antiracism from Dr. David Campt, a national expert in inclusion, equity, cultural competence and intergroup dialogue.

This antiracism work is so important, now more than ever, as America moves toward finally and completely changing the racial equity landscape once and for all (I hope).

Dr. Campt teaches about how we can address racial bias in our work. He speaks about learning to talk across divides, how to manage conversations and ways to practically engage in conversation so we all learn how to do this better.

As a mediator in addition to being a family law attorney, I am always looking for ways to better manage and guide constructive conversations that lead to outcomes that benefit all involved.
Fully owning my white privilege, I looked at Dr. Campt’s White Ally Toolkit (find it here).

It isn’t enough to be inclusive; we must be actively anti-racist, taking steps to become aware and living as examples of what it means to be truly anti-racist. This is an imperative that we must fulfill in our professional and personal lives!

Some tips Dr. Campt offers for working toward effective anti-racism include the following:

Clarify Your Intentions
Dr. Campt says that an overriding goal in combating racism should be “facilitating opinion change.” He says to be very clear on what you want to accomplish from the outset, and let it guide your actions.
Cultivate Mindful Courage
With antiracism in mind, Dr. Campt emphasizes the need to be calm and centered before you take action. That means releasing anger and allowing yourself to take a moment during an interaction to calm yourself before continuing.
Cultivate Curiosity
Ask questions – don’t lecture people on their wrong views. The best way to get someone to listen to you is to listen to them first.
Focus on Agreement and Common Humanity
Minimize differences by showcasing shared values and common ground. Pointing out differences puts people on the defensive and makes it hard to have productive conversations.
Practice Humility
People bond over vulnerability. Opening up about a time when you behaved in a way that you regret, perhaps even in a racist way, shows humility and builds respect from the other side. To become antiracist, be open. Be honest. Sharing is the first step toward caring.

How are you making changes to become truly anti-racist?
Click here to contribute to this conversation.

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Welcome to Transitions Legal!

Welcome to Transitions Legal!

Welcome to Transitions Legal!

travel work

I was very deliberate in choosing the new name for my law firm –  Transitions Legal.

As in any business branding exercise, I worked with my public relations/marketing consultant to look for the right words to reflect the values and services my business has to offer. The name of a business should tell you more than just what it does or who it is – it should be iconic, something that builds brand awareness and leaves a lasting impression that stands out from the crowd of competitors.

Although not necessarily the “norm” for law firms, this concept struck a chord with me, and I hope that’s what happens with my brand.

As a divorce attorney and mediator with more than two decades of legal experience, I want my clients to know that I am here for them through the major, and sometimes tumultuous, transition of life we call “divorce.” And, I can and will help them emerge on the other side intact, confident and eyes-forward.

I didn’t go to law school thinking divorce would be my specialty. But because of some formative experiences with divorce, a neighbor whose compassionate approach to family law inspired me, and a natural proclivity to wanting to help others, I ended up gravitating toward this niche.

I’m glad I did. It is incredibly satisfying for me to work with someone during their hour of need and see them emerge strong from a challenging time. My main work is not just to make a divorce happen; it’s to empower my clients to move forward in their lives.

The renowned Austrian composer Gustav Mahler once said, “The real art of conducting consists in transitions.”

It’s easy to play the notes in front of you and to continue with a movement that has a familiar flow.

It’s another thing altogether to seamlessly shift from loud to soft, big music to subtle music. What happens in between misery and joy can make all the difference.

And that’s what I do every day.

In my practice, I always felt like I was helping families in transition move from one phase of life to another but I never put this message out there. It’s important for people to know that going through a divorce is a transition – for them and for their family – not an end but the beginning of a new movement that they alone can compose, as beautifully and inspiring as they see fit.

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