FranklinSolutions offers:  mediation and conflict management services, and facilitation of important discussions


Jeanne Franklin
fax: 703.533.8977

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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


A Six Point Message

  • ·        Recognizing the need for and value of conflict management in healthcare continues to be an imperative. Health reform has not changed that fact. If anything, the need is greater. The American Bar Association Health Law Section's Conflict Task Force was an active presence at the March 2015 annual meeting called the EMI (Emerging Medical Issues). As part of that presence, I presented a program on ethics for lawyers, along with Jane Conard, on skills that lawyers need, maybe even a paradigm shift, to lead clients ethically and effectively toward awareness and use of resolution, problem-solving skills. The “I’d rather fight than switch” mantra won’t fly in healthcare. Much material from the Virginia legal community where there has been real leadership around the role of lawyers as counselors and problem-solvers was useful and well-received by the ABA health lawyers.
  • ·        The American Health Lawyers Association, which provides alternative dispute resolution, urges mediation and conflict resolution as effective, necessary early interventions to avert a host of legal battles that cost everyone and help few. AHLA offers healthcare facilities an onsite, immersive training designed by me and Jane Conard. Attention to facilitating the resolution of medical staff disputes including peer review matters has been the subject of several excellent programs that Michael Roth and Dr. Leonard Fromer have presented for AHLA and that Jane Conard, Jamie Baskerville-Martin and I presented for the ABA. Mediation or facilitation needs to be carefully set up and well executed to be productive; with that, the promise of satisfying results is great. “We” know that with the recent emphasis on Big Data and evidenced based practice in medicine, there is bound to be friction at times. Medicine is less the science that some would like to think it is. There is an element of art in diagnosis and treatment, the individuality of patients is a critical component in tailoring the treatment, and highly skilled operators, with the best interests of patients in mind, often do disagree on what to do when.
  • ·         Speaking of the last point, a great read is an old book titled, The Making of a Surgeon, by William Nolen. It’s a 45 year old book with a keenly observant perspective that remains relevant. It contains the fast-paced telling of one “unbelievable but true” story after another about how a physician learns to be one. It is common today to speak of the 10,000 hours needed to become proficient at something. That idea is not new.
  • ·        These notes focus on differences arising in healthcare – a world I know well. In fact, the needs for better communication and problem solving arise in many settings, especially in partnerships where people think they share goals and mission and yet begin to chafe working together in the traces of their organizational structure. There should be no shame or hesitation to face the symptoms promptly to figure out what isn’t working and what could be changed. It’s a good business practice.
  • ·        For example, the slew of cases arising in the employment law area make apparent that conflict and dissension in workplaces are common and sadly find their way into the court system. How does anyone get their work done? It seems so wasteful.
  • ·         This June, the Joint ADR Committee of the two Virginia statewide bar associations launched a blog – first ever for these associations - called “All Things ADR.” We are starting cautiously but intently to put quality materials out there to enrich Virginia lawyers’ problem solving-negotiation practices. The materials now posted are available to the public at Please check it out. We will add something about every 2 weeks.
  • ·        I shall have to stop apologizing for the posts here being so occasional.  I have been busy, enjoying it, and don’t anticipate that changing soon. Please get in touch with your problem-resolution needs.  I wish you an enjoyable summer.   

Is It Better To Listen Than To Speak?

The answer is "Not really." (However, if you are going to speak, make it worthwhile.) I framed the question and answer to attract your attention to this entry which is about the critical and underused skill of effective listening. A July 23, 2014 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 these days 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.