Register Today!


Downstate Symposium

Saturday, December 8th





Lessons from the Streets:
Diffusing High-Conflict Disputes with Advanced Techniques
Useful in All Mediations

Saturday, December 8th
8:30 am to 4:40 pm

New York Law School
185 W Broadway, New York, NY
Directions, Transit Info, etc.


8:30 am Registration, Breakfast and Networking

9 am The Interrupter Model

K. Bain is founder and director of 696 Build Queensbridge, which over the past 3 years has established itself as one of New York City's most effective Cure Violence sites with unprecedented results in violence interruption activities and mediation endeavors. K. will explain the Cure Violence model for detecting and interrupting potentially violent conflicts. The model helps mediators recognize the early signs of high-risk situations and use pre-emptive strategies to diffuse tensions. When conflicts do occur, the model includes methods for de-escalating even the most high-risk situations. Throughout his presentation, K. will discuss how these strategies and techniques can be applied to high-conflict situations during divorce mediation.

11 am Break

11:15 am Insights, Strategies and Techniques for Mediating Complex Family Situations

Family Law and Divorce Mediators often encounter high-conflict situations and fear that standard mediation techniques are insufficient to

address the needs of parties experiencing a heightened clash. Luckily, there are many diverse professionals with specific experience in addressing and diffusing high-conflict family situations, including scenarios that involve domestic violence and criminal histories. From first responders to service organizations, this panel will explore various models, strategies and tactics used on the front lines. Speakers will share their lessons learned and explain how divorce mediators can incorporate some of their methods.

Trish Blake-Jones - Blake-Jones Mediation, Panel Moderator

Jody B. Miller - Human Rights/EEO Officer, Dutchess County Commission on Human Rights, former Executive Director of the Mediation Center of Dutchess County, Inc.

Detective Jeff Thompson, PhD - NYPD

Stacey Neumann, Esq. - Divorce mediator, Former Kings County Assistant District Attorney/First Deputy Bureau Chief

Patti D'Agostino - Co-founder and President of New Dawn Family Resource Center, Bi-lingual Paralegal Walk-In Clinic at Pace Women's Justice Center

12:30 Lunch & Networking

1:30 Ethical Considerations: What are the Limits on Confidentiality in High-Conflict Mediation?

When dealing with sensitive, high-conflict subject matter, there are different ethical considerations for mental health professionals, attorneys, et al. Issues surrounding mandated reporting, conflicts, confidentiality, and cross referrals to specialists, arise when parties have a history of criminal activity, substance abuse, or threats to physical safety. This panel will discuss the ethical dilemmas faced by members of different professional spheres, featuring a mental health professional mediator and an attorney professional mediator.

Rachel Green Esq. – Resolutions Mediations Services, an accredited divorce mediator and NYSCDM Ethics Chair, will moderate this panel
Dan Burns Esq. – Burns Mediation, is an accredited divorce mediator, past NYSCDM president and former judge
Judie Stein PhD, LCSW – Stein Family & Mediation Center, a psychotherapist and divorce mediator

2:45 pm Break

3 pm Putting it Together: Mock Mediations
(2 CLEs SKILLS, 2 Mental Health CEs R. CASSIDY)

Professionals will demonstrate, via a fishbowl exercise/role play, how to mediate fact patterns that involve high-conflict scenarios including domestic violence, substance abuse, and criminal history. Two different fact patterns will mirror the themes of high conflict that were addressed throughout the program. Attendees will be able to comment and ask questions after each mock session. Speakers will comment on additional strategies.

Helene Bernstein, Esq., Law and Mediation Office of Helene Bernstein, PLLC 
Barbara Rothberg, DSW, LCSW, Therapy, Coaching, Mediation and Parent Coordination 
Candi Fulop, Esq., Fulop Law 
Don Boice, LCSW, Boice Divorce Mediation and Counseling 
Rod Wells, Divorce Mediator

4:40 pm Closing Comments, Program Ends

Standard Rates - December 4-6 - Members: $115, Non-Members: $140

No Walk-ins: All registrations must be received by close of business Thursday, Dec. 6th

Continental breakfast and lunch are included.

Presentation materials will be available electronically.

Non-members who join NYSCDM are eligible for member rates.

Register Today!


If you have questions about the symposium content, please contact the co-chairs:

Lara Traum and Mark Josephson

For technical questions about your registration, please contact NYSCDM Executive Director:

Patty Murray

Important Details 

CONTINUING LEGAL EDUCATION: “New York State Council on Divorce Mediation has been certified by the New York State Continuing Legal Education Board as an Accredited Provider of continuing legal education in the State of New York from July 25, 2018 – July 24. 2021.” CLE credits will be earned depending on sessions attended. All sessions are suitable for newly appointed and experienced attorneys. Continuing Education credits are provided for beginning and advanced mediators."

FINANCIAL HARDSHIP: NYSCDM’s Financial hardship policy is available upon written request. To apply, write Connie Fraser, 95 Allens Creek Road, Bldg. 2, Ste. 123, Rochester, New York 14618

REFUNDS: For requests received via email by November 30th, refunds will be granted as follows: amount paid, less a $25 administrative fee. Thereafter, no refunds will be granted. 

SPECIAL NEEDS: If you need dietary or ADA accommodations or have other special needs, please indicate them on the online registration form or email [email protected]

New York State Council on Divorce Mediation

585 Stewart Avenue Suite 610 Garden City, NY 11530
(516) 227-2595 - [email protected]