NYACP Newsletter - Winter 2021

NYACP News ~ Winter 2021

Volume 3, Issue 1

In This Issue...

President's Message
NYACP Annual Meeting
Winter Trainings Continue
Just Roll with It: Recognizing and Responding to Resistance
Bringing Our Family in Two Homes to Collaborative Practice
Training and Education Committee Monthly Meeting
2021 Pod & SGCP Meetings:

  • NW Pod: Unpacking Trump’s Tax Returns
  • LI Pod: Dealing with Bullying Behavior in Collaborative Divorce
  • NYC Pod: Helping Divorcing Women Reinvent Themselves
  • NW Pod: Highlights From the 2020 IACP Forum
  • NYC Pod: Help Your Client Help Herself
  • LI Pod: Expanding NYACP Membership and Cases
  • NYC Pod: Lessons Learned; Lessons Missed
  • NW Pod: Managing Our Lives in These Times
  • NYC Pod: Marketing Ideas From the Hudson Valley
  • NW Pod: Part One of Two-Part Series on Tax Reform
  • NW SGCP Meeting

2021 Membership Year is About Growth and You!
Spring is Coming
Tell Us

 President's Letter to Our Members

By Ken Novenstern

As I sit here on the couch watching the snowfall on our second Sunday storm in February, with the gas stove on and Walter snuggled at the end of the sofa, I think about how we can increase the number of Collaborative cases for our members and make Collaborative part of the discussion in every new consultation for a separation or divorce. I scroll Linked In and see postings and comments from several of our members including the recent NY Times article quoting Andrea Vacca, Esq. and Kate Bar-Tur, LCSW and from Melissa Goodstein, Esq. promoting NYACP programs and our recent Deborah Gilman and Jacinta Gallant programs. Ivan Alter, Esq.,. recently posted a video promoting the benefits of Collaborative Law. Katherine Miller, Esq. posts regularly on Twitter and other platforms.

Steve Kaplan. CPA comments on many of these posts and describes his view of how Collaborative Law provides an important option for divorcing couples stating in one of his comments: “Collaborative is a great choice, particularly during these difficult times when parties and their families are confronting challenges the traditional court system is hard pressed to address, especially with diminished access and budgetary constraints.”

A few of the Board goals for 2021 include increasing the Social Media IQ and involvement of our members, improving our website by updating it and increasing our SEO and encouraging members to look at the information they previously posted and updating it, increasing our membership both in numbers and in a more diverse member community (which will take more than just this year). We are gradually increasing our membership in part as a result of reducing dues to $595 per year, because our wonderful executive director Abby Curro guided us through a considered discussion of the issues surrounding the dues amount with important input from Board members. Most importantly, our board values the input of our members and fee reduction was raised by many members. A working committee on Streamlining the Collaborative Process has been hard at work since we presented Brian Galbraith's program on the Streamlined Collaborative Process Model this past Spring 2020 to develop a Streamlined Collaborative Model for our association. This in response to members asking for a more efficient and streamlined model for their clients. We are listening and your voices matter.

From my perspective, 2021 will be the year more NYACP members adopt Social Media as a way of getting more cases for all of us—if you build it they will come! I understand that for some members Social Media is fraught—uncomfortable issues about what will I say on one of those videos—I don’t do Facebook—I don’t understand Twitter or Instagram—how do I use Linked In?

We have hired a website developer/designer to assist with the website and work starts this month. We are retaining Cap Hill to work on Social Media for the NYACP and will shortly have offerings for members at volume rates to help untangle the jumble of Social Media opportunities and create or update Linked In pages and other forms of Social Media. The Training and Education Committee as well as the regional PODs will be presenting programs to enhance our social media skills within the different platforms.The goal is to continue and enhance the buzz about Collaborative Law as an alternative to litigation in divorce and family law matters. Yes in some respects we are competitors when it comes to attracting new clients, but we all remember the story about the small town with only one attorney who had little work—and then the second attorney moved into town and all of the sudden there was plenty of work to go around. The more each of us can do to promote our practices and Collaborative Law, the more cases there will be for all of us---litigation has been around for a long time and now it’s Collaborative’s turn!!!

Finally, please be in contact with me and your Board members, and volunteer to work on Committees. We welcomed two new board members, Stephen Linker and Catherine Canade this year who will be joining Neil Cahn, Michelle Lewis, Jeffrey Steiger, Ellen Jancko Baken, Bob Raymond, Meg Sussman, Secretary, Nancy Kaye, Treasurer, Andrea Vacca as immediate past president, and Melissa Goodstein as my Vice President. We bring to the board a diversity in practice and profession with a shared commitment to Collaborative Practice all in furtherance of NYACP's mission - "Enpowering members to achieve excellence in Collaborative skills and practice."
We put a significant amount of time into keeping NYACP moving forward and the more input, training and education programs and member engagement, the stronger our NYACP will be.

NYACP 2020 Annual Meeting ~ "Virtually" Perfect!

The only thing missing was it being a live event!

As a result of COVID, this year’s annual meeting was virtual over Zoom and presented over two days, December 3 and December 10, 2020. For the annual training, Prof. David Hoffman presented “Biased? Who, Me?!?” A Candid Look at the Problem of Implicit Bias and its Implications for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.”

Prof. Hoffman asked us:
• Are we giving ourselves a “pass” by talking about the easier biases?
• How do we counteract bias?
• How do we confront bias when we witness it?
• How do we avoid feeling defensiveness when people identify ways in which our bias has shown up?
• What about people’s bias towards us?
• How do we deal with “cancel culture”?
• Do we have tolerance for other views?
Prof. Hoffman provided us with an implicit bias primer, authored by Jerry Kang, Prof. of Law at UCLA, and provided us with an Implicit Association Test.

But the highlight of our meeting may well have been the Video Tribute put together by Board members Nancy Kaye and Jeffrey Steiger: 


  • We received our opening greetings from our outgoing President Andrea Vacca, and Nancy and Jeffrey;
  • That was followed by a musical interlude with member Andy Samalin, Melissa Goodstein’s husband, Steve, and their band;
  • Many felt the highlight may have been Alayne Katz, performing Let Me Entertain You;
  • Linda Markowitz showed us her COVID “stash”;
  • We viewed a photo montage while Nancy sang Those Were the Days, specially adapted for the NYACP;
  • Neil Kozek, in tallis and yarmulke, sang us a prayer for peace, Oseh Shalom Bimromav;
  • Melissa made potato latkes and applesauce;
  • Form his backyard, Arnold Cribari sang his song, Collaborative Country Lawyer;
  • Peg Clark and MaryEllen Linnehan were celebrated by Abby Rosmarin as leaders of the Northern Westchester Support Group;
  • Michelle Lewis gave us her thoughts after her first year as a member of our Board; and Jackie Caputo, and Barbara Rothberg gave us their thoughts on the past year;
  • Amel Massa serenaded us with Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah;
  • Andrea Hirshman provided us with the 36 simple steps for remote notarization; and
  • We closed with our new President, Ken Novenstern, providing us with a scenic view of the Stissing Mountain fire tower in Pine Plains (CBS Sunday Morning, eat your heart out).
  • All of this was followed by Melissa Goodstein’s Trivia Contest.

In our annual election, the members voted in Jeffrey Steiger to return to the Board of Directors and for Catherine Canadé and Stephen Linker as new Board members.
In turn our Board elected our current officers:
• Kenneth Novenstern: President
• Melissa Goodstein: Vice President
• Meg Sussman: Secretary
• Nancy Kaye: Treasurer

 NYACP Winter Trainings Continue As We Welcome 2021...

Just Roll with It: Recognizing and Responding to Resistance.

On January 8, 2021, Dr. Deborah Gilman presented Just Roll with It: Recognizing and Responding to Resistance. Dr. Gilman is a Pennsylvania Licensed psychologist, mediator, coach and child specialist. She discussed how to recognize resistance and noted that highly resistant clients are expert at making us feel incompetent. The client contests the accuracy, expertise, or integrity of the professionals or the process by challenging the statements of team members, questioning the team’s authority, expertise or efficacy, and showing hostility. Dealing with this is a challenge facing all Collaborative practitioners.  This recorded training is available in the members only video library. 

Bringing Our Family in Two Homes to Collaborative Practice

On February 5, 2021, Jacinta Galant presented Bringing Our Family in Two Homes to Collaborative Practice. Ms. Galant is a Canadian lawyer, conflict trainer and mediator who developed resources to facilitate deeper client preparation and efficiencies in Collaborative Practice. Her Workbook was designed to enhance the client’s ability to be self-reflective and more engaged with the members of the Collaborative Team. Her innovative Our Family in Two Homes resources help clients prepare to engage deeply, and productively, in Family Mediation and Collaborative Practice. It was developed to help couples work through the various considerations associated with separation, from learning to communicate with one another in a healthy manner to making decisions related to parenting, finances and dividing assets/debts. Utilizing the Workbook and accessing the knowledge of an experienced lawyer and mediator is a discreet and practical way to have discussions that matter.  This recorded training is available in the members only video library. 


Training and Education Committee Meeting

Our Training and Education Committee met on January 25th and continued to format a wonderful schedule of trainings for 2021. The committee is working diligently to design programs while considering the possiblility of conducting in-person meetings versus webinars and hybrids in a post-COVID environment.  Be sure to look on the website and in your email for upcoming events and information for registration.

NYACP Pod Meetings Start the New Year Right

Unpacking Trump’s Tax Returns: Takeaways for Our Collaborative Practices

Steve Kaplan presented Unpacking Trump’s Tax Returns: Takeaways for Our Collaborative Practices at the October 21, 2020 meeting of the Northern Westchester Pod. In an apolitical discussion, Steve explained the reports of the New York Times on the alleged Trump tax returns and how some of the issues raised might relate to the concepts and issues facing our clients.

Dealing with Bullying Behavior in Collaborative Divorce

At the November 3, 2020 meeting of the Long Island Pod, Roxane Polak gave a PowerPoint presentation on Dealing with Bullying Behavior in Collaborative Divorce. Roxane gave insights into the definition and predictors of bullying, antisocial and narcissistic personalty disorders, and bullying behavior patterns. Much of the members’ discussion related to examples of verbal bullying around the Collaborative table, with Roxane providing possible responses in the Collaborative setting. Roxane’s recommendations:

  • Don’t let bullies manipulate the process-screen and perhaps decline or end Collaborative case (such as when you discover a lack of transparency and financial intimidation).
  • Use team to model egalitarian behaviors and empathy
  • Address and stop bullying comments—rephrase for content (looping; framing)
  • Stop meetings if bullying occurs unchecked
  • Support and give time to target of bullying
  • Don’t lose patience or stoop to similar behaviors (such as sarcasm; anger)
  • Create and maintain firm boundaries
  • Correct misstatements
  • Challenge victimhood claims of bully with contrasting perceptions of spouse.

Ask person who bullies for their solutions and how they would address spouse’s concerns.

Helping Divorcing Women Reinvent Themselves During COVID and Beyond

Sheilah Crowley led the November 10, 2020 NYC Pod discussion, Helping Divorcing Women Reinvent Themselves During COVID and Beyond. Ms. Crowley is an NYU-trained and ICF-certified coach who discussed ways to help our clients reframe their self-images as it relates to work. Particularly as a result of COVID, many women are struggling to see what direction to take, or what their value proposition might be. Career reinvention may be an important part when planning a divorce settlement. Ms. Crowley provided guidance on helping a client discuss her values, natural strengths, skills, interests, work and lifestyle in a cohesive way to share with the new contactor prospective employer.

Highlights From the 2020 IACP Forum

The Northern Westchester Pod met on November 18, 2020 and discussed highlights from the 2020 IACP Forum held October 28th through the 31st. Attendees, led by Melissa Goodstein, spoke about Dr. Deborah Gilman’s presentation on how to deal with resistance and Collaborative cases (as a result of which Dr. Gilman was invited to make the presentation, above, to the NYACP on January 8, 2021). Members were eager to learn about collaborative mediation and Melissa described her first case using this model. A few members talked about a presentation involving use of a Workbook with clients that guides them through their Collaborative Divorce and whether this is something that we should consider in our cases. That led to the to the NYACP training, above, on February 5, 2021, Bringing Our Family in Two Homes to Collaborative Practice, presented by Jacinta Galant, J.D.

Help Your Client Help Herself: Understand the Money Barriers She Has Faced

On December 8, 2020, Carrie Rattle, MBA, CDFA, AFC, led the NYC Pod in a discussion, Help Your Client Help Herself: Understand the Money Barriers She Has Faced. Ms. Rattle covered the five core social myths that continue to erode women’s confidence around money, despite their equal ability to men. She discussed how to approach women on these topics to ensure they care for themselves and don’t feel overwhelmed when having to make financial decisions for the first time on dispenser stressful situations. Ms. Rattle Carrie has spent her lifetime championing women in the workplace and in their personal lives, including helping women break self-limiting money beliefs that restrict their success in the workplace, conquering fear/shame/embarrassment, and managing their own money. Carrie is also a board member and volunteer for Savvy Ladies, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the financial wellbeing of all women.

Expanding NYACP Membership and Cases

The Long Island Pod on January 5, 2021, and took stock, discussing what we can do to expand our NYACP membership and increase the number of our cases. We also asked what we could do to promote the Collaborative Practice as well as ourselves.

Lessons Learned; Lessons Missed

The NYC Pod met on January 12, 2021, with the topic of Lessons Learned; Lessons Missed. It was a reflection on the past year, sharing, with gratitude and humility, the learning and misses that made us wiser (one way or the other).

Managing Our Lives in These Times

The Northern Westchester Pod met on January 20, 2021 for a general discussion of how we are managing our lives during COVID and the changing of political administrations.  Melissa Goodstein suggested we listen to a podcast called “10% Happiness” by Dan Harris to get ideas about self-care.  Barbara Bel and Sallie Mullins talked about the PPP loan forgiveness program. They all agreed that politicians should be trained in Collaborative principles. 

Marketing Ideas From the Hudson Valley

With an eye towards possibly marketing itself, the NYC Pod, at its February 9, 2021 meeting, had Steve Kaplan bring marketing ideas from the Hudson Valley Collaborative Divorce & Dispute Resolution Association. The recent efforts of that group has led to interesting results. Steve provided an intimate understanding of their marketing steps and organizational procedures. 

 Part One of Two-Part Series on Tax Reform

On February 17th, the Northern Westchester Pod, began its two-part series on Tax Reform. Barbara Bel, CPA is a tax partner for one of the largest full-service CPA and consulting firms in the tri-state area. Barbara took us through the tax changes that are now under consideration and discussed the likelihood they would be enacted. Barbara’s PowerPoint presentation, along with the video of the meeting, have been uploaded to the Member Video Training page on this website.
Next month, on March 17, part two will be presented by Sally Mullins Thompson, CPA, CDFA.

Northern Westchester Support Group for Collaborative Professionals

The Northern Westchester Support Group had another successful meeting and continues to meet every month!  Support groups provide needed sharing and input for our member professionals in a safe and collaborative environment.

2021 Membership Year is About Growth and You!

We Need You!

As you all know, it was after considerable research and serious consideration, the Board voted to reduce dues 30% to $595 starting in 2021. However, it is now imperative that we grow in numbers, both to secure the financial well being of the organization, and to help increase Collaborative cases for our members.   We need you to assist with recruitment and actively participate in the effort so we can maintain the new dues level, or even reduce it further in the years to come.  

NYACP Volunteer Positions are Open

There are positions opened for the following committees/work groups!  If you are interested in any of the following topics, contact the office today: Social Media, Professional Standards, Membership, Diversity/Inclusion.


Plan for Your Social Distancing–Friendly Spring Activities

Even if you're stuck indoors, you can still enjoy these rites of spring.  You may have to pass on some social springtime activities—going to a ball game, seeing a play, etc., but that doesn't mean you can't find plenty of fun spring things to do. Start planning some activities now so you are ready for Spring!

Check out the cherry blossoms and spring blooms
Cherry blossom festivals may be canceled or curtailed, but you can still check out cherry blossom live cams around the country, including the legendary cherry blossoms along the National Mall in Washington, DC. Google Earth has 3D virtual tours of the best cherry blossom spots in the world.

Plant an herb garden
Herb gardens are a easy project for a beginner gardener and can fit the size of your space.  Create an indoor herb garden in a few pots or build a square foot garden outdoors.  Lavender helps reduce stress, and fresh herbs like rosemary, mint, and basil add to your spring meals and drinks.

Speaking of herbs for your drinks...
Raise a glass to your health...and vaccines!  Mix something with a touch of berries, like these pretty berry spritzers, with or without vodka.

Check out baby animal live cams
Get your daily dose of cuteness at one of the dozens of cameras on Explore.org, it's sure to put a spring in your step and smile to your face.

Plan a seasonal feast
Berries, asparagus, leeks, rhubarb, and more will be arriving soon on store shelves—work them into your menu.

Look for rainbows
A walk in a spring shower washes away the clouds in your soul.  Take a walk in the rain and go for a rainbow hunt, whether in the sky or on the windows and sidewalks. You may see rainbows, real or created, to bring a little hope and joy.

Take up bird watching
The birds are likely back in your neighborhood, so spend a little time at the window or walking in a park.

Freshen up your home
Spring clean or give your home an update. Add fresh spring flowers to your favorite vase, swap out your throw pillows or other accessories to give your space a lighter look for the season.

Take a scenic drive
Take a day trip to check out some different scenery from the safety of your car.

Business are Opening...with a Common Goal
Businesses all over metro New York are working toward a common goal: to welcome back guests, employees and the community at large while ensuring everyone’s health and safety.  Check out websites and find activities and events that you are comfortable to attend.

Take a Walk with a Collaborative Friend
Your colleagues are all feeling the same feelings as you.  Contact your friends in the organization and make plans to talk a safe walk, either in person or virtually, to catch up.  

Most of all, stay safe, and remember...Hope Springs Eternal.


The NYACP wants to connect with you, and hear how you are.  Please send us an update, a story, or just well wishes to your fellow colleagues. We want to hear from you, please write!