family mediation of greater washington
Reaching agreement through mediation can avoid lengthy negotiation through attorneys or disputes in the courts.

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  A Brief Biographical Sketch - Larry Gaughan
Larry Gaughan is one of the most experienced divorce mediators in America. He founded Family Mediation of Greater Washington in August, 1980. During the previous academic year he was Scholar in Residence at the Georgetown Family Center, which at the time was in the Department of Psychiatry at Georgetown University Medical School. This gave him the opportunity to study under Murray Bowen, M.D., who was one of the founders of family systems psychiatry. Larry's goal was not to become a "pseudo-psychiatrist", but rather better to understand as a lawyer the emotional dynamics of families going through marital separation and divorce.

Larry graduated from the School of Law at the University of Montana and was first admitted to the bar in Montana. After serving as a U.S. Air Force Judge Advocate in Texas, Turkey and France, he received an LL.M. at the University of Virginia School of Law in 1964, and in the same year was appointed Assistant Professor of Law. During this time he was admitted to practice law in Virginia. In 1970 he was appointed Associate Professor of Law with tenure at Washington & Lee Law School and was promoted to Professor in 1975. After his sabbatical at the Georgetown Family Center, he remained in the Greater Washington Area. He was appointed Professor of Law with tenure at George Mason Law School, and remained on the faculty through 1987, when he resigned to carry on his full-time practice of family law and mediation. At GMU Larry taught courses in Alternative Disputes Resolution and Advanced Family Law Practice.

In the early 1980's Larry was deeply involved in the growth of the family mediation movement. His mentor was O.J. Coogler, a former state senator from Georgia who was the founder of the organized movement to promote divorce mediation in the United States. In 1980 Larry became the President of the Family Mediation Association, the first national organization for family mediation. Then in 1981 a new organization, the Academy of Family Mediators, was founded in the conference room of Larry's former office in Arlington, Virginia. The founders included John Haynes, Steve Erickson, Judy Wood, and others who were among the most experienced divorce mediators at that time.

The appointment to the George Mason law faculty also included the ability to carry on a professional practice. Larry has actively and continuously practiced family mediation (mostly divorce mediation) since 1980. During that time he has handled over 3,000 different cases as a mediator. For most of that time Larry also conducted a separate practice as an attorney, but he has almost completely terminated that side of his practice since 2008 to focus on family mediation and collaborative practice.

During the period 1978-1982 Larry was a member of the Board of Governors of the Family Law Section of the Virginia State Bar. For 25 years (1975-1999), Larry gave a lecture each year at the Annual Convention of the Virginia State Bar on the developments in Virginia family law (including legislative changes and new case law) for the previous year. These lectures were then circulated around Virginia on videotape. As an attorney, Larry is rated as "AV® Preeminent™" by Martindale-Hubbell, the national rating service for lawyers. They describe this as meaning the "Highest Possible Rating in Both Legal Ability and Ethical Standards". M-H also rates Larry as a "Top Rated LawyerTM in the DC/Baltimore Area".

The field of divorce mediation has undergone many changes since 1980, and Larry has often been in the forefront of many of these changes. When the Virginia Supreme Court began to certify mediators in 1993, Larry was in the first group of professionals to be so certified. Larry is among the Founding Members of a new national mediation organization, the Academy of Professional Family Mediators, and is listed by them as an "Advanced Mediator". His articles frequently appear in their quarterly journal, The Professional Family Mediator. These can be read online at their website, An interview with Larry about APFM appeared as a full page article in the September 2, 2013 issue of the Virginia Lawyers Weekly. Larry often conducts workshops on mediation at various professional conferences, including the Virginia Mediation Network and APFM.

Larry is certified to do collaborative practice as an attorney. He is a member of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals, Virginia Collaborative Professionals, the D.C. Academy of Collaborative Professionals, and Collaborative Professionals of Northern Virginia. He has been a Commissioner in Chancery for the Circuit Court of Fairfax County, Virginia and is presently a Neutral Case Evaluator for that Court in family law matters. He has also been appointed to the Conciliator Panel for the same Court.

The Academy of Professional Family Mediators has recently set up a corporate body called the Professional Mediation Board of Standards. This nine member Board was established to administer standards of eligibility and proficiency for family mediators across the United States and to develop a program to certify qualified persons for the title of "professional family mediator". Larry has been named as one of the members of the Board.

Larry's profile in LinkedIn is accessible on any page of this website. He has received numerous LinkedIn endorsements in Mediation and Family Law, as well as in other numerous areas. Larry speaks and reads French and has a working knowledge of the Turkish language.

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