And by “conflict,” I mean any kind of relational disconnect, or disruption, or discord, or chronic disappointment.
You know what I mean. That point where you feel like it has become freaking impossible to communicate with someone you love without it breaking down into shouting, and accusations, and blame-shifting, and reflexive defensiveness. You can’t remember when you last felt genuinely cared for, and the increasingly desperate measures you are both resorting to in an effort to be heard (please, just for a minute!) are just cutting deeper and doing more harm than good. And you worry about the possible collateral damage—maybe to your relationship with your kids, maybe to your ability to function at your job, maybe your reputation in the community.
Or that point in a business or a contractual relationship when communication has become tense—or worse yet, has ceased altogether. The awkward glance and turning away when you run into them in the hallway or the breakroom, when eye contact might reveal too much about the plans that are brewing—for their exit, or maybe yours?
Something’s happened, and it’s a game-changer. Neither of you saw it coming. And now you know that things will never be the same.
Despite everyone’s best intentions, and all the careful planning, and all the hard work—now it seems like fear and distrust and self-protection are driving decisions way more than hope and teamwork. The future that you had each once envisioned, devoted your resources to, and been willing to sacrifice for is no longer in sight, and you have no idea what lies ahead. “There’s just no way this is happening…”
I’ve been there. And it’s agonizing. You wonder, if you can’t trust this person any more—whom can you trust? And if what was once a labor of love—a joint venture, a shared vision, a bright family future—has now become “every man or woman for themselves”—what are you going to be left with?
I have spent decades collectively helping individuals and businesses try to deal with these kinds of disputes and disconnects through litigation. I enjoyed being an advocate, a champion, a mouthpiece giving a voice to our clients, and pursuing justice—the righting of wrongs—by the written and spoken word. The art of claim and defense, testimony and cross-examination, objection and response. And I got pretty darn good at it.
But a funny thing happened along the way. I realized that I had a whole different set of passions and skills. A combination of experiences in business and family and life and faith and chaos and counseling and loss brought me to the end of myself, in some way. And to the end of the illusion that all disputes can be solved with procedural wrangling, rational arguments, and zealous advocacy in a “winner-take-all,” black and white, adversarial system.
I couldn’t look at the world—or our clients, or this noble profession that we love so dearly—quite the same. And I knew there had to be a better way.
So, long story short, I got trained to help our clients deal with conflict through mediation and collaborative law practice—new sets of tools and mindsets that best fit our personalities, as well as our clients’ needs. And I found that using the tools of collaborative law was the best way to honor our commitment to doing nothing less—but also nothing more—than what is best for each and every client we are privileged to serve. We encourage you to read more about how we do that elsewhere on our website.
Conflict still sucks, by the way… Try as I might, I can’t change that part. But you don’t have to go it alone. And I can certainly do my part to help you find a way through it, without making it worse than it has to be.
At Osborn Conflict Resolution, I believe that lawyers, at our best, can be peacemakers. I delight in helping people find a way when there seems to be no way.
Call us today, or fill out our contact form, so I can hear more about your situation, and you can explore whether I might the right law firm to guide you towards the best path available to whatever your “new normal” is going to be.