Contact Information

2618 State HWY 7  ·  Bainbridge, NY 13733

 Telephone 607·967·5917

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About Learning Labs

Duke Fisher has been a volunteer mediator since 1988.  The Unified Court System of New YorkState approached Duke in 1990 to become a New York State Certified Trainer of Mediation and assist with a special project bringing mediation and collaborative problem solving skills to “at risk” populations.  He is the past Director of two Community Mediation Centers and has brought the process of mediation to thousands of individuals, businesses, schools, colleges, Bar Associations, Law Practices and communities throughout the United States.  He is a straight talking, tireless advocate for respectful collaborative conflict resolution and gets his point across through the use of wise cracks, good films and experiential exercises known to encourage groups to have fun, take risks and learn from each other.

 

Education and Training

Duke was trained as a volunteer Divorce Mediator for the first time in 1989 and has participated and audited two other full divorce mediation trainings as part of efforts to develop a competent, ethical and viable practice of divorce mediation specifically for volunteer mediators.  Also as part of the then ongoing Catholic Charities Divorce Mediation project and his continued development as a skilled divorce mediator, Duke was selected in 1991 to assist John Haynes as a role play coach for his Academy of Family Mediators divorce mediation training. 

 

Certifications, Curriculums Created and Trainings Offered

In 1992 Duke was certified by the New York State Office of Court Administration to teach “Parenting Plan Mediation”, for the Family Court issues of Custody and Visitation.  Duke developed and regularly offers a well-received training in the mediation of “Parenting Plans” that helps mediators develop skills to meet diverse families, under stressful conditions on their own terms, park mediator biases and focus on the children. 

 

In 1993 Duke was hired as special consultant to establish a family court mediation project for OtsegoCounty.   Using a pre-framed “Parenting Plan Issues List”, developed with Duke’s collaborator Barbara Potter, mediators learn skills to avoid delving unnecessarily into spousal conflict and provide opportunities for cooperative parenting. 

 

In 2000 Duke co-authored and co-offered “Child Support Mediation from the Perspective of Children” with Support Magistrate Richard Mandell.  This curriculum again focuses on usable skills that assist volunteer mediators to transition into offering collaborative child focused discussions in the shadow of the Child Support Standards Act. 

 

In 2001 Duke was asked to assist the Law Order and Justice Center to develop a Divorce Mediation Training Curriculum for the Divorce Mediation Pilot Project offered to the diverse community members of Schenectady, NY.

 

In 2003 Duke began as a Special Professor of Law for the Hofstra Law School Mediation Clinic teaching law students and local attorneys skills for offering mediation in the local small claims courts.  In 2005 this project was expanded to included instruction in Family Court Mediation and in 2007 it expanded again to included Parent Teen PINS (Person In Need of Supervision) Diversion disputes in the Nassau County Family Courts.

 

Private Divorce Mediation Services

After a long history of independent divorce mediation practice, working with divorcing couples by direct self referral only, Duke finally founded “First Step” Divorce Mediation in 2006.  With the First Step Project Duke again collaborated with the New York State Council on Divorce Mediation past President Barb Potter to Update their Divorce Mediation Workbook which includes lists and worksheets that in layman’s terms prompts discussion for negotiations based on the divorcing individual’s sense for what would be best for their family and their new independent lives and organize their decisions for the final Memorandum of Understanding. 

 

In 2006, 2007 and 2009 First Step Mediation has offered three six day trainings in their obtainable style of Divorce Mediation for individuals who aspire to start their own divorce mediation practices or augment the matrimonial practices of existing law firms.