Lani Baron & Jeanann Khalife, CEO and Managing Partner at Alternative Divorce Solutions, respectively, share the importance of taking a humane approach to mediation through communication and compassion.
Three Things You’ll Learn:
- The importance of compassion
- Why you must set your intentions from the start
- The importance of taking a humane approach
Starting their friendship on the first day of law school orientation, Lani Baron and Jeanann Khalife have been by each other's side for over a decade. They now work together at Alternative Divorce Solutions (ADS), with Lani acting as an Attorney-Mediator and CEO, and Jeanann as an Attorney-Mediator and Managing Partner.
“We’re able to really customize the results for our clients based on what they feel is fair and based on what they also feel is important to them. I think that is really important and I think it brings a level of humanity to the divorce process that wouldn’t otherwise exist in litigation.” (5:06)
The basis of any litigated case is figuring out the standard of the law and how to apply it to each case, but Lani and Jeanann’s team takes it a step further. By gaining a deep understanding of the issues that are important to their clients and combining those with their subjective views, as well as the law, they give a holistic approach so that clients walk away feeling like they’ve been heard.
A Humane Approach is Critical
Divorce is something that touches every aspect of an individual's life, impacting and changing everything. If you approach each case in a productive manner — something a litigation attorney is trained to do — you can have a lasting impact on every family you work with.
“I do believe that it is a critical need for families to have a humane approach to going through something that would otherwise be completely devastating.” (8:20)
You should be kind, but you also need to know when to step in to create boundaries between the parties, says Lani. Your practice's goal should be to figure out a way to communicate what the client wants or needs in a respectful, productive, and efficient way.
Mediation in a divorce setting does not lend itself to one type of philosophy. It is a combination of all ideologies and you must know when to use each type of mediation.
Showing Compassion From The Start
Jeanann and Lani want to ensure their clients know what to expect when they enter the offices of ADS. By offering a complimentary consultation, they hope to:
- Educate their client about what the law is
- Decide whether the client is comfortable with the ADS team
- Understand the client's background, needs, and where they are coming from
Jeanann and Lani take the time not only to nurture their clients, but their team as well. They believe their team is an extension of themselves and that everyone represents a piece of the puzzle.
What they found to be most effective in growing their firm is answering the phones and speaking to clients, because the first point of contact is generally the most crucial. You have to be empathetic, compassionate, and professional up front so that every aspect of your business reflects your company's values.
“We’re very selective with who we bring on board because we want that culture of a second home.” (24:47)
Coping Through COVID
Jeanann and Lani pride themselves on always thinking ahead and trying to become more advanced as a firm on a regular basis. When the pandemic first hit, they had already moved the firm’s operations to a cloud-based system, making the technical transition much easier.
They have managed to continue attracting clients at the rate they were prior to the pandemic and attribute that to working with Scorpion — as well as shifting their marketing efforts from Google to Facebook.
The two are adamant that no matter what challenges your business faces, you have to keep pushing forward and have an end goal in mind.
“Because we believe in what we do, we have the ability to pick up and start over whenever we are hit with something new.” (32:31)
Learn more about Lani Baron:
Learn more about Jeanann Khalife: