As a lawyer and mediator, and with rabbis in my family, negotiating clergy contracts seemed an obvious field for me – except that it isn’t an established field. Nevertheless, when rabbi-friends and friends of friends started calling me for help with their contracts, I realized that there was a real need. Clergy often feel at a loss when contract negotiation time comes around. Negotiating can be awkward in any job. For clergy, the tension between being a spiritual leader and an employee, a caregiver and a person with needs, can be especially daunting. My practice has expanded to include non-clergy religious professionals: Executive Directors, Heads of School and others.
I find that my experience with congregations and faith-based organizations allows me to relate both to my clients and the folks “on the other side” of the negotiating table. Thus, I conduct the discussion in a setting of mutual respect and trust. Because I am my clients’ agent, this helps preserve the relationship between the parties – – perhaps the most important element of all.
I practiced as a lawyer, in both Washington and New York, concentrating in business litigation. In addition, I served as the Director of Synagogue-Federation Relations at the Jewish Federation in Atlanta and as Director of Development for Jewish Family & Life in Newton, Massachusetts. My law degree is from Georgetown University Law Center. I also have a Masters in Jewish Studies from the Jewish Theological Seminary and my B.A. is from Vassar College. I was trained in mediation and negotiation by Mediation Works, Inc. in Boston, and in divorce mediation at the Community Dispute Settlement Center in Cambridge.
I am married and I have two daughters. I bring a unique combination of legal background, congregational experience, Jewish knowledge and rabbinic family experience to facilitate important life transitions for my clients.
I maintain the highest level of confidentiality. Any information that you provide to me will remain confidential unless you give specific permission to release the information, or I am required by law. That having been said, I cannot guarantee the confidentiality of information transmitted using forms of communication such as mail, telephone, fax, online forms and the internet.
Overview of the Client-Martha Arrangement
I work with clients and congregations and organizations all over the country and sometimes beyond. When possible, I really enjoy meeting in person with clients and the congregations’ or organizations’ negotiators. But in reality, most of my work is done over the phone, with follow-ups and documents work by email. I am willing to travel but it is rarely necessary. Once we have spoken (I offer a 1/2-hour free phone consultation) and decided to work together, I send my clients an “engagement letter” which has a description of our arrangement and asks for their signed consent to be represented, or consulted with, by me.
Purpose of this Information
I intend the information on this website, including any links or articles, written by me or others, as just that – information about me and what I do. It does not constitute legal advice.