My day in Lille, France

by Talia Katz April 15, 2013

If you’ve not yet met, it is my pleasure to introduce you to Dominique Lopez-Eychenie and Brigitte Bogucki, two Collaborative lawyers who have been at the forefront of the development of Collaborative Practice in France. In our day together in Lille, we spoke a lot about the challenges of communication within an international organization. Luckily for me, we were able to speak in English. Both Brigitte and Dominique speak English quite well, though I know that our conversation was at times frustrating for them. They shared what felt to them an imbalance – with my ability to select just the right word to convey my thought precisely while they had to rely on the vocabulary they knew. Though the three of us had, over the years, participated in many phone bridge calls together, and exchanged countless e-mails, we all recognized the difference in our face to face conversations; body language, facial expressions, hand gestures, tone, all lent to a “feel” which is unattainable over the phone or through e-mail. (It kind of reminded me again of the wisdom of our four, five, six-way Collaborative meetings.) They chuckled over my desire to take their photo by the flower vendor (Americans always want that, I am told) and treated me to the most delicious carrot-coriander soup, pistachio cream filled wafers and out-of-this-world chocolate, in addition to a truly lovely stroll around the old city of Lille.

In thinking about my day with Brigitte and Dominique, I am struck by how much more difficult it is for them to establish a viable Collaborative community in France than it was for those of us who were (and still are) pioneers in the US and Canada. When we needed a sample form – there were many from which to adapt. When we needed some guidance or encouragement, there were plenty of people to call. Today, there are CP forms and conferences and trainings and resources and public education materials galore – all delivered primarily in English. So, here’s my question to all of you. Are there experienced French speaking Collaborative practitioners in our community whom we could connect for some added support? If that’s you, please post a reply here or e-mail me. I’m trying to talk Dominique and Brigitte into coming to the Forum – hoping I’ll get to introduce them to you there!

Next stop - London!

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