Brigitte Bell

500 Davis St., #1006
Evanston, Illinois 60201
United States
Office Phone: 847-733-0933
Member since 2004
Membership Type: IACP

Profession(s)

Lawyer, Mediator

As one of the professionals who brought Collaborative practice to Illinois, I am pleased to have watched it grow and take hold so quickly. This is due in no small part to the community of professionals who, like me, are committed to the problem-solving, no-blaming approach to helping families find solutions to all the problems and difficulties they encounter while trying to navigate the straits of divorce. I like putting my energies into helping people--it's so much more productive than posturing and arguing. I also like coming up with unique and creative ways of dealing with difficult situations rather than following the traditional way, which is just to say this is how it has been done so this is how it should be done. Families change and are different, so why shouldn't the ways we help them cope and move on to new lives be so as well.

Area(s) of Practice: Child Representative, Collaborative Law, Family Law, Guardian Ad Litem, Mediation
License(s): American Bar Association, Illinois Bar Association

Professional Activities

CURRENT: ~Collaborative Law Institute of Illinois: Founding Co-President, Board Member, Fellow (2000- ). ~Chicago Center for Family Health: Co-Teacher, Advanced Mediation Internship (annually since 1995 - ). ~Center for Conflict Resolution: 2004 Honoree, Board Member, Trainer, Volunteer, and Legal Counsel; past Board Secretary, Chair of Long Range Planning, and Chair of Peer Review (involved since 1985). ~Mediation Council of Illinois, Member of Referral Panel; former Vice President and Board Member. ~Academy of Family Mediators: Practitioner Member (1997—), Consultant (1998--). ~SPIDR: Member (1991- ). ~Association for Conflict Resolution: Practitioner Member, Family Section (inception - ). ~Association of Family and Conciliation Courts: Member (1991- ). ~Illinois State Bar Association: Alternative Dispute Resolution Section Council (by appointment) (2000- 2003); Family Law Committee; Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee. ~American Bar Association: Family Law Committee and Dispute Resolution Committee. ~Chicago Bar Association: Family Law Committee (1990—); Women and the Law Committee; ADR Committee; Legislative Subcommittee.Arbitrator, National Arbitration Forum (since 2002- ). ~Child Representative, Cook County Court System (1989 - ). ~Court Facilitator, Cook County Court System (since inception, 2000- ). ~Martindale Hubbell AV Rating. ~PAST: ~State Bar Association Committee on Training for Child Representatives (by appointment)(2000-2001). ~Legal Assistance Foundation Children's Rights Project Advisory Board (1985-90; Chair (1985-86). ~Loyola University of Chicago Law School: Lecturer in Law, 'Alternatives to Litigation: Consensual Dispute Resolution' (1987 to 1996). ~DePaul University: Visiting Faculty, 'Mediating Through the System' (1992 through 1999). ~REPRESENTATIVE PRESENTATIONS: ~Academy of Family Mediators: July 1994 Conference: (a) The Ethics of Suggestions (with Sharon Zingery); (b) Working With Attorneys in Mediation (with Lynn Jacob); July 1995: Neutrality and the Best Interests of Children; July 1996; (a) Intensive (full day) Workshop on Mediating Financial Issues; (b) Neutrality and the Best Interests of the Children: Round II; February 1996: Tough Attorneys/Rough Cases (with Lynn Jacob); September 1996 Symposium on Mediating with Low-Income Families (Steering Committee); July 1997 (a) Intensive (full day) Workshop on Mediating Financial Issues in Divorce; (b) Internships; July 1998 Co-Mediation (with Jacob); July 1999 Time and Timing in Mediation (with Kessler); Getting Past Impasse: Bringing in Experts (with Jacob). ~Association for Conflict Resolution: October 2001 Conference: Prayerful Mediation; February 2002 Conference: Closing Plenary: Live Demonstration of Mediation (with Lynn Jacob); October 2002 Self-Revelation: Link or Noose?; July 2003 Ghosts at the Table: New Significant Others (with Green). ~Association of Family, Court, and Community Professionals: May 2001 Conference: Panelist: Judicial Dispute Resolution: Is it Mediation? ~Mediation Council of Illinois: April 1994 Conference: (a) The Ethics of Suggestions (with Sharon Zingery); (b) Working With Attorneys in Mediation (with Lynn Jacob); April 1995 Conference: (a) Neutrality and The Best Interests of Children (with Sharon Zingery); (b) Drafting Joint Parenting Agreements (with Jerry Kessler); April 1996 Conference: Working With Financial Experts In Mediation (with Lynn Gaffigan); April 1997 Conference: Changing Perspectives: Reframing in Mediation; May 1998 Conference: Bringing Clients to the Table: Marketing, Mediation, or Both? (with Kessler and Gaffigan). September 2001 Tough Moments in Mediation: Getting Beyond Impasse (with Jacob); September 2002 Self-Revelation: Link or Noose (with Lynn Jacob), and Fishbowl Demonstration Mediation; September 2004 Mediators and Attorneys Working Together (with Lynn Jacob). ~Wisconsin Association of Mediators: November 1993 Conference: The Ethics of Making Suggestions in Mediation (with Sharon Zingery); Case Assessment for Family Mediation; November 1994 Conference: Intake: Setting the Stage; November 1996 Conference: Changing Perspectives: Reframing in Mediation; November 1998 Conference: Time in Mediation and Mediation Time. ~Academy of Legal Studies in Business: August 1995 Conference: Full Day Workshop on Teaching ADR ~Illinois State Bar Association: October 1996: Law Ed Series: Preparing Your Case and Client For Mediation. ~National Business Institute: March 1997: Equitable Distribution in Divorce Settlements in Illinois; November 1998 Child Custody and Visitation in Illinois; March 1999 Family Law In Illinois; March 2001 Child Custody Issues in Illinois.

Undergraduate Education

Swarthmore College 1970 BA with High Honors

Postgraduate Education

University of Iowa, MA in Educational Measurement and Statistics 1972-76 (Incomplete)

Professional Education

University of Chicago Law School 1979 JD

Comments

Before I knew about Collaborative Practice, I was already conducting my practice--both mediation and law--in the most client-focussed way I could, which is one of the reasons I opened my own firm in 1993. Collaborative Practice has given a name and a context to making the client's needs the central focus of the process. My staff and I are committed to providing help and support to our clients so that they can have a dignified divorce that respects their concerns and allows them to set a pace that is workable for them. We welcome questions. In addition to the office in downtown Chicago given above, I also have an office (with a terrific view of Lake Michigan) in downtown Evanston, Illinois, and easy access to an office in Lake Forest, Illinois.
Training Offered

none currently except through CLII's training committee -- the Fellows' Collaborative Skills trainings that are required, some I create and conduct, some I invite others, some are a mix

Training Conducted

40-hour mediation training through Loyola law school (several years, no longer)
-taught mediation/adr skills at Loyola Law School (in the '90s)
taught mediation skills at DePaul's School for New Learning
participated for years and years and years in mediation skills trainings for the Center for Conflict Resolution (Chicago)

Collaborative Training Offered

none currently except through CLII's training committee -- the Fellows' Collaborative Skills trainings that are required, some I create and conduct, some I invite others, some are a mix

Collaborative Training Reference

co-Chair of Illinois (CLII) training and education committee for multiple years