Register Today!

FRIDAY, Dec. 6th


Downstate Symposium




 Register Today!

Diving Deeply into the
Mediation Trifecta:
Law, Money, and the Human Psyche

FRIDAY, December 6th
8:30 am to 4:40 pm

Speakers Listed in Order of Appearance

Featured Presentation:

Beyond Words: Demystifying the Myths of
Body Language and Uncovering the Science of Nonverbal Communication

Jeff Thompson, PhD, is a professor at Lipscomb University and NYU, a researcher and trainer, a law enforcement detective with the NYPD focusing on Mental Health and Wellness, and a former hostage negotiator. He is a certified psychological autopsy investigator, and focused his doctoral studies on the science behind the development of rapport, building trust, and displaying professionalism during conflict situations.

Jeff Thompson will be presenting an engaging, two-hour, data-driven presentation deepening our understanding of the nonverbal communication that takes place between parties and their mediators in the mediation room. He will focus on unraveling the mystery behind nonverbal cues surrounding concepts such as trust, honesty, and recalcitrance.

Additional Sessions and Speakers:

Different Legal Frameworks:
Mediation in the Shadow of
Various Cultural Legal Regimes
CLEs Pending

One benefit of mediation is that we can simultaneously negotiate in the shadow of NY law as well as in the shadow of the laws of other jurisdictions, cultures, and religions. Mediators are empowered to honor the various legal systems that might be important to each unique family. For example, although someone may reside in NY and need to account for NY law, that person might also care deeply about Shariah law or Jewish law. This "deeper dive" panel addresses the opportunity to honor different legal systems in the mediation room. 

Adam Berner, Esq.
Nadia Shahram, Esq.

Asset Division and Maintenance:
Horse-Trading Assets for Tax Impact in
Light of Altered Maintenance Laws
CLEs Pending

One of the benefits of the old maintenance regime was a shift in tax responsibility when creating a post-marital financial plan. While this specific benefit is no longer available, creative asset division, if viewed as more than merely “equitable distribution”, can allow for advantageous tax impact strategies for all involved. In reviewing a variety of assets, such as retirement accounts and assets with capital gains, from both a qualitative and quantitative perspective, this presentation offers new ways of addressing asset division and post-marital tax considerations.

Steve Kaplan, CPA
Eve Helitzer, Esq.


Our Future: A NYSCDM Discussion on
Presumptive ADR in the NYS Courts
CLEs Pending

This session will serve as a vibrant “town hall” featuring NYSCDM members that are already on presumptive mediation pilot panels in a few different counties. There will be a Q and A, clarifying what is happening and opening up discussion as to what this means for the future of the profession and what work must still be done.

Deborah Hope Wayne, Esq.
Alla Roytberg, Esq. 

Candi Fulop, Esq. 

New York Law School
185 W Broadway, New York, NY
Directions, Transit Info, etc.


Super Early Bird - Through November 23 - Members: $100, Non-Members: $125

Early Bird - November 24 – November 30 - Members: $105, Non-Members: $130

Standard Rates - December 1-5 - Members: $115, Non-Members: $140


No Walk-ins: All registrations must be received by close of business Thursday, Dec. 5th.

Continental breakfast and lunch are included.

Presentation materials will be available electronically.

Non-members who join NYSCDM are eligible for member rates.


If you have questions about the symposium content, please contact the co-chairs:

Lara Traum and Mark Josephson

For technical questions about your registration, please contact NYSCDM Executive Director:

Patty Murray

Important Details 

REFUNDS: For requests received via email by November, 29th, refunds will be granted as follows: amount paid, less a $25 administrative fee. Thereafter, no refunds will be granted.

SPECIAL NEEDS: If you have any dietary, ADA or other special requirements, please email [email protected] unless you have already indicated them on the registration form.

SYMPOSIUM MATERIALS: About a week before the symposium, you will receive conference materials via Dropbox.

*NYSDRA members and MEMBERS OF OTHER STATE ORGANIZATIONS THAT DO NOT PRACTICE IN NEW YORK, are eligible for NYSCDM member rates. Government employees are eligible for member rates as well. Please email [email protected]

CONTINUING LEGAL EDUCATION: “New York State Council on Divorce Mediation has been certified by the New York State Continuing Legal Education Board as an Accredited Provider of continuing legal education in the State of New York from July 25, 2018 – July 24. 2021.” CLE credits will be earned depending on sessions attended. All sessions are suitable for newly appointed and experienced attorneys. Continuing Education credits are provided for beginning and advanced mediators." For more information about CEs and CLEs, please contact Connie Fraser.

CONTINUING EDUCATION for Mental Health Professionals are approved for select presentations and co-sponsored by R. Cassidy Seminars. Attendees can choose to purchase MH CEs during or shortly after the conference via an online portal provided by R. Cassidy. For details, please consult Kate Bar-Tur.

FINANCIAL HARDSHIP: NYSCDM’s Financial hardship policy is available upon written request. To apply, write Connie Fraser at 95 Allens Creek Road, Building 2, Suite 123, Rochester, New York 14618.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact Patty Murray, NYSCDM Executive Director.

New York State Council on Divorce Mediation

1732 1st Ave #21294, New York NY 10128
(516) 227-2595 - [email protected]