Chip Rose — an interview


  1. Who are you? Where do you come from? What is your background?

Probably the most relevant answer to this inquiry is to describe myself as the middle child and first-born son of conflicted parents who either stayed together “for the children” or couldn’t afford to separate and divorce – -the consequences being the same either way.  Law school at U.C. Berkeley kept me from having to become a soldier and fight in Vietnam, and my degree pointed me toward a career in the law.  Interfacing with family law cases, I found myself attracted to helping people in relationship transition, and in 1980, when I was first introduced to the idea of mediation as a professional methodology, I fully embraced it without any reservation.

  1. What do your current professional practice and activities look like?

Now, in my 37th year of practice, I am looking forward to winding down my practice, which has been exclusively family mediation since the middle of the 1990’s.  This comes on the heels of major changes in the consumer base that has in large part resulted from the almost-depression following the implosion in the housing market and the collapse of major financial institutions at the end of the Bush presidency.  I still maintain a private practice caseload and periodically give workshops or trainings by request.

  1. How did you first learn about mediation?

In 1980, I was visiting my sister and brother-in-law in San Diego.  Tom had just been appointed to the Superior Court as the first family law specialist in the state to do so, and, as he left his litigation practice, he asked me if I had heard about “this mediation thing.”  I have often joked that when he said: “One lawyer sits down with both clients and helps them settle their case,” what I heard was: Get rid of the other lawyer!  Unaware of the training that my good friend and colleague, Steve Erickson, along with O.J. Coogler, were doing in Georgia, I spent the next couple of months trying to work out my own idea of how to mediate, following my intuition and worrying about the State Bar.

  1. What do you hope to accomplish as a Board Member of APFM?

In reality, as I come to the end of my Board service after four years (not counting the next year, during which I will serve as Past President, ex officio), I can only hope that I have accomplished some of my goals, since the sands in that hourglass are rapidly running out.  My goal in coming on the Board was to help expand the membership of APFM and contribute to the establishment of a national professional organization that raises the awareness of the public to the profession of family mediation.  Participating with others who have pioneered the field of family mediation in establishing standards of practice, and contributing to the task of raising the skills and capacities of our member professionals have been very rewarding, both personally and professionally.

  1. Where do you see the field of Family Mediation going?

The answer to that operates on several different levels.  The first one that I would like to get out of the way is the ever-presence of legislators and bar associations who would like to see mediation as an extension of the legal services profession.  The work that Marilyn McKnight and the Professional Mediation Board of Standards organization is doing to establish a nationally recognized certification process is our best hope to push back against the “legalization” of the profession of family mediation.  Beyond that, the profession needs to continually adapt to the changing needs of our consumer base.   The financial meltdown of 2008, the legalization of same-sex marriage, and the tendency of millennials to question the importance of marriage while still creating “committed” relationships are some of the more significant societal changes that create opportunities for the profession.  Relevance and affordability are two of the most important goals for the field.

  1. What do you like to do when you are not mediating?

Aside from golf, which is my favorite physical activity, I very much enjoy traveling with my wife, reading (history and mysteries, in particular), listening to music (mostly classical and jazz), and supporting our daughter as she completes her college education in New York.

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