Petra H Maxwell, M.A., J.D.
I created MediationLine to help people like you and me: busy, working adults who may be juggling kids, a job, aging parents, and financial stress. When a crisis hits, be it an impending separation or divorce, the catastrophic loss or illness of a loved one, or a deep-seated family or business dispute, I wanted to provide a service that would support and empower individuals to work through their conflict and avoid the high costs of litigation.
Early on in my legal career, I gravitated toward working with kids and families in conflict. I founded a legal aid service in Chicago called First Defense Legal Aid which, among other things, offered peer mediation services to teens and won recognition from the U.S. Department of Juvenile Justice. After moving to New York City in 1997, I was asked to create the New School University’s first Ombuds Office to mediate disputes among students, staff and faculty, and have led two large non-profit agencies in Manhattan where I developed award-winning programs serving single parents, youth, and families.
In early 2010, MediationLine grew out of my strong commitment to helping couples, families and small businesses resolve conflict in a more peaceful, cost efficient way.
In addition to a J.D. from Harvard Law School, I have an M.A., magna cum laude, from Northwestern University, and a B.A.,summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, from the University of New Hampshire. I am a Certified Mediator and Arbitrator with over 300 hours of advanced training in divorce and family mediation, custody and visitation mediation, commercial mediation and arbitration. I serve as an Administrative Law Judge for the City of New York’s Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings; a Commercial Mediator for the NY Supreme Court’s Commercial Division; and as an Arbitrator for the NY County Civil Court’s Small Claims Division. I’m an active member of the Family and Divorce Mediation Council of Greater New York, the NYC Bar Association’s Committees on Family Law and Alternative Dispute Resolution, the New York State Bar Association’s Committee on ADR and Commercial Law, the NY Women’s Bar Association ADR Committee and the Queens County Bar Association.