My Personal Story
My professional life was transformed when I learned about Collaborative Family Law. I realized that rather than being part of a legal system which often further damages family relationships, I could be part of a restorative system. No longer was family law about “fighting for” or “protecting” assets; it was about transforming a relationship from one form into another. “Custody” and “visitation,” terms used in the prison system, became “parenting time.” Not only did these subtle differences feel gentler, they also felt more respectful, caring, and accurate. These changes make a positive difference in how a client and his or her family move through the legal process.
More than a profession for me, Collaborative Practice is a vocation. It offers me a way to align my personal values with my professional skills. It gives me a means of offering hope in a time of stress and allows me to be an instrument of change and healing in people’s lives. My clients and their families create agreements that work for everyone, helping the family in its new configuration to move forward in a productive and secure way. I’m able to live and work with integrity, to call forth my higher self and to help others do the same. I believe applying the principles taught by Collaborative Practice allows me to be of service to my clients, my community, and ultimately to inspire global change in how people in conflict interact.
My Professional Background
I’ve been helping families in the Twin Cities resolve conflicts and disputes since 1999. I’ve dedicated my practice to helping families reach out-of-court settlements through mediation, Collaborative Practice, and negotiated settlement. I have applied the Collaborative model to other areas of family law outside of divorce, such as pre and post-nuptial agreements, third-party custody, paternity, post-decree matters, and LGBTQ family matters that have not been recognized in the traditional court system until more recently. I received my Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Minnesota, followed by a Juris Doctor from Hamline University School of Law.
I’m an active member of the Collaborative Law Institute of Minnesota (CLI), International Academy of Collaborative Professionals (IACP), Minnesota State Bar Association, Minnesota State Bar Family Law Section, and the Ramsey County Bar Association. I was the Co-President of CLI in 2011, served a term on the CLI Board of Trustees from 2008-2012 and again from 2017-2019, and will be president of the organization in 2018. In 2013, I was awarded the Stu Webb Award, which was created to recognize and is named for the creator of Collaborative Law more than 25 years ago. I also train attorneys and mediators around the country about Discernment Counseling and how to recognize and address divorce ambivalence in our work.
I regularly volunteer for the Collaborative Law Institute’s Low Bono Project, as well as Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Services, an organization committed to providing a full range of high quality legal services to low income people and eligible client groups in civil matters.
Outside of the office, I enjoy sailboat racing on Lake Minnetonka; fly fishing on the Brule; skiing; cooking; being active in my church community; and connecting, exploring, and creating with my husband and three children in our blended family. I have a strong co-parenting relationship with my former husband.
Shelly Kiesner is a paralegal with Livesay Law Office, LLC and is committed to helping clients from the initial call through the completion of their dispute resolution process. She provides assistance and administrative support for situations in which direct attorney involvement is not required, to ensure that each client’s needs are heard and addressed in the most caring and cost-efficient manner.
Shelly firmly believes that the Collaborative process is the optimal model for resolving family conflict when people have the capacity to participate, and she has seen the benefits of this process for many families while working at Livesay Law Office. Shelly has a deep understanding of family systems and genuinely cares for the well-being of all clients and their families who work with Livesay Law.
Shelly graduated from the College of St. Benedict with a Bachelor of Arts. She majored in Business/Management with a minor in Spanish. She received her paralegal certificate from North Hennepin Community College, an ABA-approved paralegal program. In her spare time, Shelly enjoys golfing, reading, boating, fishing, hunting, and traveling. Additionally, she cherishes time relaxing at her cabin with family, friends and her three children, and recent grandchildren.
About Louise E Livesay, Collaborative Law
Our Firm Philosophy
Our firm philosophy is simple: We are genuinely committed to helping our clients and their families make a positive transition through divorce and other family matters by working towards healing.
At Livesay Law, we are committed to:
Doing respectful and dignified work
Family conflicts can leave people feeling disrespected, and the legal process for resolving those conflicts can feel anything but dignified. Many people feel if they communicate openly or reveal any weakness, the other party will use that against them, resulting in a process that can feel hostile and unsafe.
In contrast, the dispute resolution processes we offer provide a structure that supports respectful behavior, full disclosure, and open communication and problem solving, while respecting the dignity of all participants.
Both Collaborative Practice and mediation are confidential and have ground rules that create a safe atmosphere for the honest communication of needs and ideas, allowing all parties to drop their armor and work together on crafting solutions without fear they will be taken advantage of by the other attorney. The professionals you work with are committed to supporting the family in reaching the best outcome for everyone involved.
Supporting clients who are open to positive growth
When you resolve disputes through mediation or Collaborative Practice, you are not turning your conflicts over to a judge to decide; you're committing to the hard work of resolving them together with your former spouse. Through this hard work, you gain insights that help you become more informed, and a better communicator and co-parent. You are not alone in this work and growth. Built into the process is support from compassionate and skilled professionals who understand the issues you need to resolve, guide you through challenges, and help you identify options for the future.
Co-creating with you a solid foundation for your new life
Divorce is more a financial, relational, and emotional transition than it is a legal matter. Conventional, litigated resolutions to family disputes deal with the specific legal issues brought before the court. Collaborative Practice and mediation address not only your legal needs, but your financial, relational and emotional ones as well. The process of working together with the other party to create a solution that works for your family leads to longer lasting and more mutually acceptable settlements than those arrived at by going through a more adversarial route.
In the future, the likelihood of ending up in court after your current matter is resolved is less probable, if not eliminated, by reaching an out-of-court resolution. This is because you’ve addressed how to resolve issues in the future, have thought through longer-term issues, and have gained skills through the process that help you be effective co-parents. And the agreements are mutual decisions, not decisions forced on you by a judge.
If there are disagreements in the future, you've created a blueprint for how to resolve them respectfully without court involvement. Minimizing the emotional, financial, and relationship costs of divorce in this way helps create a safer, more solid foundation for the new life you are creating for you and your family.
I couldn't be more pleased that Louise Livesay was my attorney. I was very nervous about the whole process, but she quickly put me at ease. Louise kept me well informed, was very knowledgable, communicated in a timely manner and, most importantly, she had my best interests at heart. I highly recommend Louise Livesay!
Highly recommended! I'm very satisfied with the service I was provided. I remained comfortable throughout the entire process, and communication was always on point. My goals were always the priority! I'm thankful for Louise and her team!!
Louise did an excellent job in a very difficult situation. She was professional, thoughtful and caring. I would highly recommend Louise!
Ending a long-time marriage is difficult enough without being embroiled in a battle between two adversarial attorneys. My divorce was recently finalized; Louise (and my ex-wife's attorney) made it as painless as possible through a collaborative and thoughtful approach. I found Louise to be empathetic, supportive, considerate, and authentic. She communicates issues on a timely basis and in a way that doesn't leave you reaching for a legal dictionary. She came well-recommended to me and I'd be glad to do the same..
High quality service, friendly and professional
I would highly recommend Louise as a collaborative attorney. I was unfamiliar with the concept of a collaborative divorce settlement, so was apprehensive at first. Louise was so very kind, professional, and sincerely listened to what I was facing and to what I was desiring. She walked me through the divorce process with great consideration for my well-being in the outcome, as well as worked with me according to my wishes and desires. Louise was thorough and also was able to direct me to a financial advisor that I have enjoyed working with and trust. I was so thankful to have her as my attorney. She helped keep me grounded during a very painful and unexpected chapter in my life.
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- Stu Webb Award
- Collaborative Law Institute Of Minnesota (CLI)
- Collaborative Law Institute’s Low Bono Project
- Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Services
- Minnesota State Bar Association
- Minnesota State Bar Family Law Section
- Ramsey County Bar Association
- International Academy Of Collaborative Professionals (IACP)