Offering: mediation, conflict management, facilitated meetings, and planning assistance


Jeanne Franklin
fax: 703.533.8977

latest entries

Franklin Solutions provides assistance to clients, be they individuals, businesses, or groups, by working with them to resolve their specific disputes through mediation, and by helping clients manage conflict so they can move forward productively. Conflict is inevitable; it surfaces in business as well as in so many other areas of human endeavor. Law suits are one form or stage of dispute. Also, dispute can exist more subtly, exerting a corrosive influence upon productivity.

Franklin Solutions helps clients to:  avert or resolve unnecessary conflict; minimize the harmful and costly effects of unresolved conflict by addressing it promptly; harness positive outcomes from substantive disagreement; and, from the clash of ideas and concepts, make new beginnings.


news, notes and events


Is It Better To Listen Than To Speak?

The answer is "Not really." But I framed the question to attract your attention to this entry which is about the critical and underused skill of effective listening. A July 23 Wall Street Journal feature article by Sue Shellenbarger summarizes lessons learned and tips from various consultants and trainers about how to listen, how not to listen, and what research shows about a significant decline in face to face communications and listening skills.  Specific examples of positive results that businesses have experienced and attributed directly to using good listening skills are noted in the article.

Listening skill is one that mediators have practiced and cultivated. Those including myself who also train and advise others in mediation and dispute resolution seek to create keener awareness of when people are truly listening and when not. The very good news is that a person who works on improving how he or she listens to others will most likley see positive results from improved interactions with work colleagues and clients.

A later entry here may be about speaking and asking good questions. For the moment, consider this: what a person takes in from listening well increases the likelihood that when he or she starts to speak or ask questions the content will be more relevant and responsive to the other person, and thus conducive to satisfactory communications.



8 Months of "Radio Silence"

2014 has been an extremely interesting and productive year so far. January 2014 brought chairmanship of the Virginia statewide bar associations’ Joint ADR (JADR) Committee. That has given me an opportunity to work with business people and lawyers about their approaches to problem resolution. I can report that organizations and individuals in dispute are hungry for less costly ways to deal with the almost-inevitable conflict. This is not nirvana or wishful thinking but is pragmatic, business-like, hopeful thinking. Lawyers in Virginia are open to examining how they practice ADR and how they can continue to refine practice approaches. We are working to create some forums in Virginia to occur in January 2015 where discussion among lawyers will take place with a nationally renowned leader at the helm.

This coincides with an excellent discussion by DuPont General Counsel, David H. Burt, in the American Bar Association’s Dispute Resolution Magazine   (Spring 2014) about the DuPont ADR program.  Its impressive program is designed to encourage a “sustainable ADR culture.”     

Jane Conard and I have promoted what we call a “culture of conflict competence in healthcare facilities” for many years; our presentations and training sessions on the subject as well as consulting with health facilities continue. In addition to the American Bar Association March webinar on conflict management in healthcare that we presented along with Jamie Baskerville-Martin, the ABA has formed a task force involving its dispute resolution section and its health law section to focus on the subject. Professor Charity Scott is instrumental in that initiative.

In April, the American Health Lawyers Association launched its significantly revamped Dispute Resolution Service offering arbitration, mediation and hearing officer services in health care, as well as conflict management training. The new service is accessible, reducing or completely eliminating costly upfront fees, and it boasts an electronic case management system as well as panels of extremly knowledgeable neutrals experienced in the healthcare world. As a task force (now called council) member, I was involved in the rules’ revisions unerlying the revamping of the service.

This summer, The Virginia Bar Association presented the William B. Spong Jr. Professionalism award to me for demonstrated leadership in the profession and in the community. It was overwhelming and humbling because of its namesake, William B. Spong (the kind of leader that we need more of in public life).  He was not a celebrity but was a WWII hero (bomber fighter pilot), who later served in the US Congress, the Virginia legislature, as Dean of William and Mary Law School, and as private practitioner. He mediated the Dalkon Shield cases, and was instrumental in changing opinion in Virginia to work toward desegregation and place Virginia educational policy on sounder footing. He enjoyed making things work for the betterment of others and was good at it, while being a collegial, pleasant professional. It is inspiring to try to follow his example. 

The next few months of 2014 will continue to be filled with valuable work. Please do not hesitate to contact me with your comments and ideas, and to ask about your projects.


2014 News: Where has the time gone?

A belated happy new year to all and apologies for a two month hiatus. Things have been busy.

Nonetheless, here are three brief news announcements:

- Jeanne F. Franklin was elected on January 24 as Chair of the Joint Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee of the Virginia State Bar and the Virginia Bar Association.

- She will present a webinar on March 20 along with Jamie Baskerville-Martin, Esq. of Richmond, Virginia and Jane Reister Conard, Esq. of Sun Valley, Idaho for the American Bar Association Health Law Section. The topic is "Medical Staff-Hospital Relationships: Diagnosing the Problem, Treating It, and Practicing Wellness."

Information about that program may be obtained from this office or from the American Bar Association Health Law Section website.

- The effect of a sincere and appropriate apology to change a conversation and motivate problem solving was discussed in a thought provoking educational program and demonstration, based in part on neurological studies, during the Virginia Bar Association Annual Meeting on January 24.  The program was presented by Kimberly Fauss, Esq., Marshall Yoder, Esq. and Lisa Schenkel.

Discussion during the program recognized that organizations, businesses and talented people can do amazing things like lazer surgery, building satellites or designing beautiful graphics but it is still hard often for good people to build good teams and get the people one works with to "get along."