Find a Mediator

Find a Mediator

MCFM-Western MA Mediators Professional Development Workshop (Online)

The Massachusetts Council on Family Mediation
Mediation and Collaborative Professionals of Western Massachusetts
 are excited to co-sponsor a special
Professional Development Workshop:

Wednesday, April 14, 2021
1 p.m. - 3 p.m.
By Zoom Videoconference

PLEASE NOTE:  This workshop will start at 1 p.m.,
rather than our regular start time of 2 p.m.



RECORDING:  This workshop will be recorded. Please see registration form for details.

CANCELLATIONS:  If you discover after you register that you will not be able to attend, please let us know ASAP by emailing

WORKSHOP TOPIC: "Wisdom From the West:  A Conversation With Western Massachusetts Probate Judges About Mediation, Mediated Agreements and More"


The Honorable Linda S. Fidnick, First Justice, Hampshire Probate Court
The Honorable Richard A. Simons, First Justice, Berkshire Probate Court
The Honorable Claudine T. Wyner, Associate Justice, Hampden Probate Court
The Honorable Kathleen A. Sandman, Associate Justice, Hampden Probate Court


Oran E. Kaufman, Esq.


This program will feature a panel of judges from western Massachusetts discussing and answering your questions about mediation and the courts. 

In this workshop you will learn what this panel likes to see in mediated agreements. What aspects of mediated agreements are challenging? Do they ever insist that a mediated agreement be reviewed by attorneys? How do they deal with notarization in the time of COVID-19?

If you mediate in western Massachusetts, this workshop will be invaluable. If you are from the east and do not regularly practice in the western part of the state, it will be even more invaluable and insightful.

Your questions in advance are welcomed. Please email your query to MCFM Administrator Ramona Goutiere by Monday, April 12, 2021.


Hon. Linda S. Fidnick is First Justice of the Hampshire Division of the Probate and Family Court. Prior to her appointment to the bench in 2008, Judge Fidnick was a partner in the Amherst law firm of Burres, Fidnick & Booth LLP, where she concentrated her practice in all areas of family law, including mediation and collaborative law. Judge Fidnick is a 1975 graduate of Smith College and a 1979 graduate of the University of Connecticut School of Law, and she has been a member of the Massachusetts Bar for over 40 years. Judge Fidnick is past president of the Massachusetts Chapter of AFCC and is vice president of the national board of directors of AFCC. She was co-chair of the AFCC task force which created the Guidelines for Court-Involved Therapy. She served on the board and as secretary of the Massachusetts chapter of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers before her appointment to the bench. Judge Fidnick served on the SJC Committee to Study the Code of Judicial Conduct, presently chairs the SJC Committee on Judicial Ethics, is vice chair of the Probate and Family Court Judicial Education Committee, and serves on MCLE’s Curriculum Advisory Committee for family law. She is a member of the panel of Massachusetts judges trained as peer mentors. She is also past chair of the MBA Family Law Section Council and past president of the Hampshire County Bar Association.

Hon. Richard A. Simons is the First Justice of the Berkshire Division of the Probate & Family Court. Prior to his appointment to the Bench in 2008, Judge Simons practiced law in Pittsfield with the firm of Simons, Smith & Gerrard where he concentrated his practice in the area of domestic relations and real estate. Judge Simons obtained his law degree from Boston University School of Law. In 1999, Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly recognized Judge Simons as one of its ten “Lawyers of the Year.” In 2014, he and Chief Probation Officer Amy A. Koenig conceived of and implemented a program, “Enhancing Families Through Literature,” based on a successful alternate sentencing program, “Changing Lives Through Literature.” The program works with families caught up in litigation before the Probate and Family Court to develop parents’ communication skills in a non-adversarial environment while at the same time promoting the value of reading to children. In 2017, "Enhancing Families Through Literature" was recognized with the Irwin Cantor Innovative Award given by the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts for innovative court-connected programs. Judge Simons currently serves as the Chair of the Probate and Family Court’s Education Committee; a member of the J2J Peer Mentor Advisory Panel; and a Trustee of the Flaschner Judicial Institute.

Hon. Claudine T. Wyner was appointed associate justice of the Massachusetts Probate and Family Court in April 2017 by Governor Charles D. Baker. Judge Wyner is assigned to the Hampden Division of the Probate and Family Court. Prior to her appointment to the bench, Judge Wyner was a partner in the firm of Marien & Hodge, P.C., where her practice focused on all areas of family law. She graduated cum laude from Boston University with a B.S. in Special and Elementary Education. Prior to entering law school, she worked as a Special Education teacher in Northampton, MA. She earned her J.D. from Loyola University Chicago School of Law. She previously served on the Board of Directors for the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts and currently serves on the Board of Directors for Multicultural Community Services. 

Hon. Kathleen A. Sandman is an associate justice of the Probate and Family Court. She was appointed in 2017. Judge Sandman had the opportunity to sit in Worcester County from 2017 to 2019 and has now been assigned to the Western Massachusetts circuit, currently sitting in the Hampden Division. Judge Sandman serves on the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Working Group on Substance Use and Mental Health and on the Probate and Family Court Guardianship Committee. She is a long-standing member of the Hampden County Bar Association. Prior to her appointment, Judge Sandman was a sole practitioner for 29 years, concentrating in family law. She graduated from Siena College with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science (1984), and from Western New England College School of Law with a Juris Doctorate (1987). While a lawyer, Judge Sandman was involved in several volunteer lawyer programs, including the Hampden County Volunteer Lawyer’s Service, Lawyer for the Day and Senior Partners for Justice. Judge Sandman also served as secretary of the Amelia Park Children’s Museum Board of Directors in Westfield, MA for several years (2005 – 2008).

Oran E. Kaufman has been a family law attorney since 1989 and a mediator since 1994. He has a solo practice in Amherst, MA where he concentrates on family law mediation, collaborative practice and guardianships of elders. He is founder and principal of Amherst Mediation Services and co-owner of ConflictWorks, which provides conflict resolution training to organizations and businesses. He is a former president of the Massachusetts Council on Family Mediation and co-chair of the steering committee for Parents and Children in Transition, Only One Childhood and For the Children in Northampton, MA. Oran is certified as a mediator by the Massachusetts Council on Family Mediation and is an Advanced Practitioner with the Association for Conflict Resolution and the Academy of Professional Family Mediators. Oran is an adjunct professor at Western New England University School of Law where he has taught a course on Family Mediation and currently supervises a Mediation Clinic at the Hampden Probate and Family Court. Oran serves on the Massachusetts Trial Court Standing Committee on Dispute Resolution.

COST:  No charge to attend the Workshop


This virtual event will be powered by Zoom. You must register to attend. Zoom access instructions will be included in your registration confirmation email.

Click the "Register Now" link on this page.




Guests and prospective MCFM members
are always welcome at our workshops!


April 14, 2021 1:00 PM through  3:00 PM