Spotlight on Danae Woodward – Shaping the Evolution of ADR
Litigation lawyers have long been viewed as fierce gladiators, battling on their clients’ behalf, in winner take all contests. Over time, however, many lawyers, including Danae Woodward, recognized that litigation was one way to resolve disputes but not necessarily the best way. Litigation is expensive, time-consuming, emotionally draining, and has a high probability of destroying relationships. Danae actively sought an alternative to address her clients’ need for emotional and financial redress in a less combative and destructive environment. She found this alternative in Civil Collaborative Law and Mediation.
Collaborative dispute resolution was born out of the idea that attorneys did not have to battle to represent their clients effectively. This concept resonated with Danae, causing her to shift the focus of her advocacy to the solution rather than the battle. In collaborative law, through cooperation, collaborative counsel commit to resolving conflict without the threat of litigation and educate their clients on communication tools such as empathetic listening, non-violent communication, silence, and the power of apologies. Parties and their counsel work together to identify their own interests, understand others’ interests, and develop solutions that address all parties’ interests.
As a Collaborative attorney, Danae is trained to de-escalate emotional issues and focus on the different parties’ interests. Danae brings this same training and experience to her mediation practice at Miles Mediation & Arbitration, focusing on interests and balancing and even fostering positive relationships between opposing parties. Her legal experience as a litigator representing employees and as in-house counsel for large publicly traded companies, coupled with her formal training as a collaborative law attorney, has given her a breadth of experience tailor-made to mediate disputes across disciplines and resulted in her being a highly sought after mediator.
Danae approaches each mediation with the understanding that she must have a firm grasp of the legal issues presented and be prepared to uncover the emotions that serve as a barrier to resolution. She is well-versed in the conflict resolution process’s psychology, giving her the unique ability to differentiate between underlying issues and specific actions she can take to move a case forward.
As litigation loses its foothold as a mechanism to force resolution, neutrals like Danae take their rightful place in a practice that brings people together rather than drives them apart. Danae is more than a neutral; she advocates cooperative dispute resolution practices, actively participating in shaping the evolution of alternative dispute resolution options. Today, Danae embraces her role as a professional peacemaker, guiding parties to recognize that conflict resolution does not have to be an acrimonious process with a winner and a loser. Instead, Danae knows first hand that all parties can walk away from a dispute with a win.