the long version.

During the course of a mediation, my clients often share with me the most intimate details of their emotional lives and financial circumstances. I think that it's only fair then for me to share some of my background with you.  After all, when you sign on for a mediation with me, you are in a way investing in me.

It may be unorthodox to do this, as I realize that many attorneys or therapists might not share this type of information with a client. All I can say in this regard would be that I have abandoned orthodoxy in a desire to find new ways of doing things for families going through this process.

 

I call this section of my bio - the long version.  It may what you skim on these nights when you tire of reading updates about other people's exotic vacations or their perfect children on Facebook, but still feel like being online for some reason or another.  And if you feel like stopping at any point, don't worry you will have a chance to get to know me down the road if you decide to do your mediation with me.

  

Ok now back to the story.  Thus far, I have had the good fortune to lead an incredibly interesting life. A decision to embark on the mediation process, with me as your mediator, means that I will bring a unique perspective into the room.

 

In addition to my dedication, personality and demeanor, there are four essential components to my work as a mediator:  

1.
education and work experience.

I have an entire page with my degrees, bar admissions, and professional organizations (click on the menu above to verify me!).  Some attorneys hang these items on the wall in fancy frames. Not me. I keep them in the garage for a rainy day and list them on my website. 

Eeks. This was over 20 years ago....I started my legal career in 1997 as in-house counsel at a global investment bank, where I spent three years working and living in Europe. From there, I moved to California and embarked on the path of "law firm" life. I developed my negotiation and transaction skills as a corporate attorney at White & Case LLP. As a litigation attorney, I have worked at several of the most prestigious boutique family law firms in Los Angeles and represented numerous clients in family law proceedings.

My legal experience is a product of working in these two worlds: corporate and family law.  The banking and corporate world allowed me to develop my finance and business acumen. As a family law attorney, I then gained extensive knowledge and understanding of California family law and our judicial system.  My overall experience in both fields ensures that I have the ability to analyze complex financial and legal issues.

 

As a mediator, I bring both “mindsets” into the room for your benefit: the business model where my focus was on getting the "deal" done and family law litigation where my focus was on getting the "best" outcome for a spouse.  

2.
personal experience with divorce.

In addition to having professional legal experience with custody and divorce, I have experienced divorce myself – first as a child and then later in life as an adult.  I have a deep understanding of the profound emotional and financial consequences "family reorganization" has for parents and their children.

Growing up in the 70s and 80s, as a child of divorce, I witnessed the impact of having parents in conflict with each other. The world has changed a lot since then, and I believe that society's understanding of divorce has also changed. We still have a lot of progress to make.

In 2012, when I came to the sad realization that my own marriage would end in divorce, my first concern was of course for my children (who were only 4 and 3 years old at the time).  I knew that every study about children of divorce found that the children who fared the best in life on a long-term basis are the children whose parents were able to minimize the amount of conflict in their lives.   As a family law attorney, I had seen too many parents ignore these studies only to become embroiled in deep conflict, with no end in sight. 

I was determined to make the process and overall experience different for my own children. Fortunately, my children's father shared my same commitment.  While co-parenting can be very challenging at times, I know that it is all worth it when I see how well my children have adjusted and how much it means to them to have parents who work together to secure their happiness and well-being.

Every day is now an opportunity for me to witness the benefits of a healthy co-parenting relationship in my family, but also in the lives of my clients and their children.

3.
my commitment to mediation.

My professional and personal experience with custody and divorce is what lead to my desire to build a career as a family law mediator.  I am a firm believer in the necessity of working together collaboratively and minimizing conflict in order to move forward and build happy, fulfilling lives. It is safe to say that I truly “walk the walk!”

100% of my current work is in the field of mediation and collaborative law. I devote all of my continuing legal education to alternative dispute resolution. 

As my foundation, I completed an intensive 40-hour mediation training in family law with Forrest S. Mosten, who is considered a leading and nationwide expert in the field of Mediation and Collaborative Law.  This training in the fundamentals has since been followed by countless hours of my reading, studying and participating in advanced mediation trainings. I actively participate in a supervision group, with seasoned family law practitioners.  I am also pursuing certification with UCLA as a Certified Financial Planner. 

In 2018, I attended annual conferences in Chicago with the American Bar Association (Dispute Resolution), in San Diego with the Academy of Professional Family Mediators (APFM), and in Seattle for the International Association of Collaborative Professionals (IACP), as well as many other local conferences and meetings with family law and mediation professionals in Southern California. I look forward to an equally busy and productive 2019!

4.
determination and work ethic.

​Thomas Jefferson has been credited as stating, “I am a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it.” I attribute so much of my luck in life to my determination and work ethic. Of course, other things also come into play, but I know that I can always rely on my determination and work ethic to carry the day. I will bring it with me into your mediation session.

I started working when I was 12 years old.  I came home from school one day and announced to my parents that I had been hired as a bus girl to work at a neighborhood Italian restaurant.  I spent most of my waking hours at that restaurant, gradually working my way up from bus girl to hostess, and even waitress by age 16. 

I am pretty sure that during my teen years every labor law in the state was broken, but I learned some lifelong lessons, namely - -  inner determination to improve myself and a very strong work ethic.  It allowed me to put myself through college and law school, even working three jobs at one point. Laughing - - not many people can say they survived exams & working as a cashier at Target during the holidays and still get into a Top 10 law school. My work ethic fueled the drafting of many securities prospectuses, operating agreements, loan documents, trial briefs, motions, opinion letters, and such, over the years.

Clients who work with me are guaranteed that I will work extremely hard to bring resolution to their lives, and that they will in fact be paying me for an “honest day’s work.” I simply wouldn’t have it any other way.

Whew! You made it through my encyclopedia.  Thanks for reading!

Best regards,

Piper

Contact:  Heather Piper

 

address:  11400 West Olympic Boulevard,

                 Suite 289

                 Los Angeles, CA 90064

email:       admin@pipermediation.com

 

phone:    424-521-9435

Monday to Thursday:

9 am to 5 pm

Friday:

9 am to noon

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© 2018 by Heather Piper.