Resources for Dealing with
High Conflict People

Speaker Biographies

To schedule a speaking or training event, please call us at 619-221-9108. Please do not contact our speakers directly; we will assist you in making arrangements.

Preview examples of our Seminar Agendas. Call us to discuss your specific agenda needs.

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Bill Eddy, LCSW, Esq.
Bill Eddy is a lawyer, therapist, mediator and the President of High Conflict Institute. He developed the "High Conflict Personality" theory (HCP Theory) and has become an international expert on managing disputes involving high conflict personalities and personality disorders. He provides training on this subject to lawyers, judges, mediators, managers, human resource professionals, businesspersons, healthcare administrators, college administrators, homeowners’ association managers, ombudspersons, law enforcement, therapists and others. He has been a speaker and trainer in over 25 states, several provinces in Canada, Australia, France and Sweden.

As an attorney, Bill is a Certified Family Law Specialist in California and the Senior Family Mediator at the National Conflict Resolution Center in San Diego. Prior to becoming an attorney in 1992, he was a Licensed Clinical Social worker with twelve years’ experience providing therapy to children, adults, couples and families in psychiatric hospitals and outpatient clinics. He has taught Negotiation and Mediation at the University of San Diego School of Law for six years and he is on the part-time faculty of the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution at the Pepperdine University School of Law and the National Judicial College. He is the author of numerous articles and several books, including:

  • High Conflict People in Legal Disputes
  • It’s All YOUR Fault! 12 Tips for Managing People Who Blame Others for Everything
  • SPLITTING: Protecting Yourself While Divorcing Someone with Borderline or Narcissistic Personality Disorder
  • BIFF: Quick Responses to High Conflict People, Their Personal Attacks, Hostile Email and Social Media Meltdowns

He is also the developer of the “New Ways for Families” method of managing potentially high conflict families in and out of family court. He is currently developing a method for managing potentially high conflict employees titled “New Ways for Work.”

Bill Eddy's CV

meganhunter

Megan Hunter, MBA
Megan Hunter, MBA, is an international speaker and author on the topic of high-conflict relationships. She is co-founder of the High Conflict Institute along with author and speaker, Bill Eddy, LCSW, Esq. who developed the high-conflict personality theory. Megan developed the concept of the Institute after 13 years in family law as the Family Law Specialist with the Arizona Supreme Court, and Child Support Manager of the Dawes County Attorney’s Office in Nebraska.

Megan has trained legal, mental health, business, leadership groups, universities and other professionals across the United States, Canada and Australia in the area of high-conflict legal and business disputes. Her family law experience includes policy formation, research and program development regarding court procedures, child support protocols and parent education programs, as well as developing expertise regarding international child custody disputes. As staff to the Arizona Legislature’s Domestic Relations and Child Support Committee she gained a broad understanding of the issues facing both families and professionals in family law.

Her first book, Bait & Switch: Saving Your Relationship After Incredible Romance Turns Into Exhausting Chaos, will be released in 2014.

She holds an MBA from the University of Phoenix and a Bachelor’s of Business and Economics from Chadron State College, Chadron, Nebraska. She served as President of the Arizona Chapter of the Association of Family & Conciliation Courts, the Arizona Family Support Council and Nebraska Child Support Enforcement Association. More recently, she served 5 years on the Arizona Board of Psychologist Examiners and is on the Advisory Board of the Personality Disorder Awareness Network.

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L. Georgi DiStefano, LCSW
L. Georgi DiStefano, LCSW, is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with extensive experience in the management of substance abuse programs and employee assistance programs, as well as a popular speaker on workplace conflict resolution. She is the Executive/Clinical Director of the Center for Alcohol and Drug Studies and Services for the San Diego State University Research Foundation, managing a budget of $3.7 million with over 3,000 active clients. In the past, she has managed the Employee Assistance Program for Kaiser Permanente hospital system in San Diego, CA and was the coordinator of the Critical Incident Team and worked with the Threat Management Committee.

For over a decade she has provided monthly management seminars for organizations such as Viejas Enterprises and Cymer Inc. Her corporate clients have also included Sea World, City of Temecula, Salk Institute, County of San Diego and Integrated Insights/HHRC. She continues to conduct employee seminars and management training in a variety of wellness and teambuilding topics. She recently received the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) San Diego chapter Lifetime Achievement Award.

She was the Executive Director of the Counseling and Recovery Institute in San Diego, CA. Ms. DiStefano is the lead author of the book: Paradigm Developmental Model of Treatment Book: A Clinical Guide For Counselors working With Substance Abusers And The Chemically Dependent and has spoken internationally on this new model she created. She provides management consultation and executive coaching, in addition to seminars on managing high conflict people in the workplace, healthcare, substance abuse programs and other settings.

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Michael Lomax, Esq.
Michael Lomax is a highly experienced lawyer/mediator who has assists many individuals, corporations and government agencies in understanding how to manage high conflict personalities.

Michael has conducted hundreds of mediations including family, workplace, multi-party and court related matters and Michael’s mediation work makes up approximately 80% of his law practice. Michael also represents clients where he assists them in resolving their disputes through alternative dispute resolution processes.

Michael has previous experience as the director of a Canadian federal government mediation center, where he was responsible for promoting the department’s workplace conflict resolution program and supervising a team of mediators. Michael also delivers training in conflict resolution skills to organizations and has conducted many toxic workplace interventions.

 

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John Edwards, Esq.
John Edwards has been practicing law, primarily in civil litigation, since 1977. He began his mediation practice in 2002 and since then has successfully mediated hundreds of cases including commercial and residential real estate matters, professional malpractice, personal injury, employment disputes, probate and business disputes. John is affiliated with West Coast Resolution Group in San Diego, California. He helps people resolve legal conflict with integrity, respect, confidence and hope. His passion and commitment help others avoid adversarial contests which can be very costly, inefficient, painful and hard for many people to survive. John’s experience, training and insight provide him with a foundation that enables him to successfully work with high conflict personalities and mediate cases in which emotions run high.

John earned his J.D. from the University of San Diego Law School and received his mediation training at Harvard Law School. He received additional training in working with high conflict personalities with the High Conflict Institute. He subsequently began presenting with Bill Eddy at High Conflict Institute seminars and co-taught the Psychology of Conflict with Bill Eddy at the Strauss Institute at Pepperdine University where he is an adjunct professor. He frequently guest lectures at California Western Law School and Thomas Jefferson Law School. John also has taught both Introduction to Mediation training and Advanced Mediation training at the National Conflict Resolution Center and has participated as a panelist in numerous continuing legal education seminars.

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Shawn D. Skillin, Esq.
Shawn Skillin is a family law attorney, family law mediator, mediation trainer and speaker. Shawn has worked with Bill Eddy since 2002 and has been the beneficiary of his theories for many years, putting them to use in her own practice on a regular basis. Now a member of the HCI faculty, Shawn has been trained in New Ways for Families, New Ways for Mediation and New Ways for Work. Shawn serves as a speaker, trainer and educational consultant for HCI.

A Family Law Attorney since 1996, she practiced as a litigator for several years before becoming involved in mediation and later Collaborative divorce. She has handled many divorce cases from simple to complex, in both court and Collaborative Divorce. She has also worked as minor’s counsel, representing children in high conflict divorce cases.

Shawn became a member of the National Conflict Resolution Center Family Law Mediation panel in 2002, where along with Bill Eddy, she is now a senior mediator on the panel. She has successfully mediated hundreds of family law cases since then. Prior to attending law school, Shawn was a registered nurse, specializing in Surgical Intensive Care and Trauma Resuscitation. Her unique blend of education and professional work has given her a wealth of practical experience in working with families in crisis.

Debbie Lyons

Deborah S. Lyons, Ph.D.
Deborah S. Lyons has over 30 years of experience in the mental health field. For over 20 of those years she has maintained a private practice in Austin, Texas. She also frequently teams with family law attorneys on Collaborative Law divorce cases, works as a Parent Coordinator with couples and families, and is an instructor, trainer, and speaker on a variety of topics. She holds dual licensure in Texas as both a Licensed Psychologist and a Licensed Specialist in School Psychology. She provides outpatient psychotherapeutic services to both hearing and deaf children, adolescents and adults, as well as psychological and neuropsychological evaluations, and consults with school districts across the state of Texas.

Fluent in American Sign Language, she has worked extensively with the deaf/hearing-impaired communities since 1981, providing both direct services to clients as well as case consultation to agencies. She has held positions at the Texas School for the Deaf where she served as its first Supervising Psychologist, Austin Regional Clinic Mental Health Associates and the Alabama Department of Mental Health.

She has been an Adjunct Instructor within the Psychiatry Residency Training Program at the Austin State Hospital/Seton Shoal Creek Hospital since 2001, and previously taught undergraduate Developmental Psychology at Auburn University.

She has also maintained an active presence in the field of Collaborative Divorce for the last ten years as a speaker, mental health professional, and process facilitator in complex, high conflict divorce cases.

She is privileged to have known and worked with Bill Eddy since 2007 and has benefitted enormously over the years from his expertise as a trainer, colleague, and mentor. Deborah is trained in the New Ways for Families methods and serves as a speaker, trainer, and educational consultant for HCI.

She obtained her Ph.D. in clinical psychology, with an emphasis in child clinical psychology, from Auburn University in 1991, where she also earned her M.S. in 1986, and has a B.S. in psychology from Loyola University of Chicago.

Mark Baumann

Mark Baumann, Esq.
Mark Baumann is a lawyer, mediator, and part-time judge in Western Washington. Practicing law over 23 years, Mark has specialized in high conflict and domestic violence family law cases for the past 14 years. Mark’s passion is studying the dynamics of high conflict cases and finding ways to help lawyers, mediators, judges and parties manage and reduce conflict in the most challenging cases. In litigation, Mark represents victims as well as people with high conflict personality traits.

His partner is Rachel Hardies, a therapist, who collaborates with him in high conflict / domestic violence mediations and HCI presentations. Mark and Rachel co-founded BELARI, an interdisciplinary pro bono clinic researching high conflict cases and providing legal advice and mediation services. Mark and Rachel provide coaching to professionals and parties in high conflict cases.

Mark has presented on behalf of the High Conflict Institute since 2009 and has published articles on understanding and handling high conflict cases.

He is also a frequent contributor to the Washington State Bar Association’s Family Law section listserve. These postings address topics that litigators with difficult high conflict cases face on a daily basis. His training includes mediation training at the Strauss Institute for Dispute Resolution at Pepperdine University School of Law, being trained as a GAL, and psychology class work focusing on attachment, trauma, and personality disorders. Mark is an executive board member of the Washington State Bar Association’s Alternative Dispute Resolution section, former counsel for the North Olympic Drug and Alcohol Center, and is the Quileute Nation attorney for tribal domestic violence cases.

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Tania Sourdin
Professor Tania Sourdin is the Foundation Chair and Director of the Australian Centre for Court and Justice System Innovation (ACCJSI) at Monash University in Australia. Tania has previously been the Director of the Conflict Resolution Centre at La Trobe University and Co Director of the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) program at the University of Queensland. She is an active mediator, conciliator and adjudicator and is a member of a number of tribunals and panels.

She wrote the National Mediator Accreditation Standards and has led national research projects and produced important recommendations for court and non adversarial justice reform. She has conducted research into conflict resolution and disputant perceptions in eight courts and four independent conflict schemes and currently has two major evaluation projects in this area.

Tania has worked across Australia, in New Zealand, Hong Kong, Canada, the United States, the UK, the United Arab Emirates and the Pacific.  As well, Professor Sourdin is the author of books (including Alternative Dispute Resolution (Thomson Reuters) – 4th ed forthcoming), articles, papers and has published and presented widely on a range of topics including commercial dispute resolution, mediation, conflict resolution, complaints management, case management, collaborative lawyering, judicial dispute resolution, high conflict disputants and organisational change.

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