Meet Scott Levin with San Diego Divorce Mediation & Family Law

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Meet Scott Levin with San Diego Divorce Mediation & Family Law

A passionate collector of sports memorabilia, family law attorney Scott Levin—also known as the Chief Peacekeeper—gives us a play-by-play of his transition from litigator to mediator.

He tells us about the benefits of helping couples navigate an out-of-court settlement during the divorce process. He shares his background which includes studying Metropolitan Studies in New York. Scott breaks down the importance of creating a comfortable environment for clients and the value of connecting with his clients. He tells a success story of helping a couple maintain a loving and connected relationship after divorce through successful mediation.

What are some his sports memorabilia collections? What advice does he give to divorcing couples? Where did he get the title of Chief Peacekeeper?

CLICK HERE for more information about Scott Levin.

CLICK HERE for more information about San Diego Divorce Mediation & Family Law.

Listen to Scott’s story here.



Click here to read the transcript

Announcer 0:00
From Los Angeles, this is the Echelon Radio Network

Jerri Hemsworth 0:12
Good morning. This is Jerri Hemsworth with the Echelon Radio Podcast. And this morning I’m sitting with Scott Levin, and he’s known in San Diego. As the chief peacekeeper. Good morning, Scott.

Scott Levin – Chief PeaceKeeper & Divorce Mediator 0:28
How are you, Jerry?

Jerri Hemsworth 0:29
I’m doing fine. What is the chief peacekeeper?

Scott Levin – Chief PeaceKeeper & Divorce Mediator 0:33
Well, that’s an interesting question. So it’s a trademark that I have. It’s a nickname. Basically, I view a chief peacekeeper as I’m a family law attorney of anyone since 2004. I was a litigation attorney since 2013. I work as a mediator, so I’m still a licensed attorney. I’m still what’s called a certified divorce financial analyst, which is just a divorce financial expert, I guess. But, um, I don’t litigate cases. So in my mind, most of the family law bar that litigates will also mediate. And I think that people should pick a lane, to be honest. And that’s a little controversial. Some of my friends and colleagues on the other side of the family law process don’t like turning away people that want to mediate, but it’s a different mentality. Scott Levin Chief PeaceKeeper™ And mediation is a skill and a passion and a process that you that I think you should live in 24 seven, just like if you’re a litigator, you should be in that world. So to me, a peacekeeper is somebody that’s dedicated to helping couples navigate an out of court settlement process that they that they control. And that can be relatively quick and a lot less stressful.

Jerri Hemsworth 1:58
Yeah, it sounds like it comes down to you as a person. What suits your soul, and what you feel really good about doing? And if it’s mediation, then go all the way did you? Did you have that thought? Or how did that come to you that you’d like? Yeah, litigation, not for me. I like the mediation.

Scott Levin – Chief PeaceKeeper & Divorce Mediator 2:19
It was a couple of different origin stories. I mean, the reality was I, you know, I’ve been in therapy for a long time. But, you know, my therapist, in 2012, basically was like, you know, I really just think that, you know, a lot of the, these things can be kind of, you know, maybe settled or maybe not resolved, I don’t know if we ever resolve our own. So she suggested that I would really consider, you know, focusing on mediation exclusively, and kind of laid out why she thought that that might help me and I just agreed with her and I had my third child or sorry, my second child was born around that time in 2012. And I was, you know, really into being a dad and a family person. And a lot of my clients, when you litigate, divorces, it’s hard to protect your clients, you know, depends on the other side and the other attorney, and it’s hard to shield you know, you can’t, you’re not in control, and there’s nothing you can really do to get control in a litigated setting. So yeah, that’s where it really came from. I just decided to transition my practice. I never took another litigation case. Wow. I mean, I do draft I represent people and in drafting Prenuptial agreements and postnuptial agreements, but I just don’t litigate and I, I haven’t since then, and it’s it’s been it’s been an incredible ride here.

Jerri Hemsworth 3:51
It’s got to be a lot less stressful.

Scott Levin – Chief PeaceKeeper & Divorce Mediator 3:54
You know, I get to deal with a lot less attorneys which is really, it’s not people choosable people to be honest with you. It’s just I get to deal with less attorneys and I think most attorneys will tell you that makes for a better life.

Jerri Hemsworth 4:08
Nice. Hey, Scott, Where’d you grow up?

Scott Levin – Chief PeaceKeeper & Divorce Mediator 4:12
I grew up in San Diego really most of my life I’m born in Phoenix but yeah, I grew up in in along the ocean.

Jerri Hemsworth 4:21
Where do you go to school?

Scott Levin – Chief PeaceKeeper & Divorce Mediator 4:23
So, I went to school to New York University. college so I lived in Manhattan and and then after those great years, which I love and cherish went to University of Virginia for law school in Charlottesville Virginia

Jerri Hemsworth 4:41
Been there, love the campus.

Scott Levin – Chief PeaceKeeper & Divorce Mediator 4:43
I love I love Virginia it’s actually my 20th reunion. In March so going back to see I haven’t really I think I was there one one since I left so I haven’t unfortunately been back as much but yeah 20 years

Jerri Hemsworth 5:00
What was that adjustment? Like going from San Diego to Manhattan? That’s pretty extreme.

Scott Levin – Chief PeaceKeeper & Divorce Mediator 5:05
Yeah, you know, I loved it. I think I became more of a California person because you’re, you’re kind of, I remember people like go you’re from you’re from San Diego, and all of a sudden I was like, Yeah, dude, you know, I really kind of played it up more than I probably really, I wasn’t. I wasn’t a surfer or anything growing up.

Jerri Hemsworth 5:28
Does that Pacific Beach come out in you?

Scott Levin – Chief PeaceKeeper & Divorce Mediator 5:31
Yeah, I’ve worked a lot more shorts than most people, I think.

Jerri Hemsworth 5:35
Flip Flops.

Scott Levin – Chief PeaceKeeper & Divorce Mediator 5:37
But I love I love New York, I have a great group of friends. I have incredible experience. I I took I majored in something that was very unique to the, to the city. What was called metropolitan studies, but really, it was just a study of the city history and it’s, you know, one class was about, you know, you know, like, gay culture in the 1960s. And in, you know, Times Square, and then another, you know, another class was about, you know, the architecture and another class was about, you know, the city, city government

Jerri Hemsworth 6:15
That sounds fascinating

Scott Levin – Chief PeaceKeeper & Divorce Mediator 6:17
versus city versus metropolitan. And, you know, just a really interesting study of the city and nothing that I could ever apply to, to my, you know, to be on that. But, you know, I don’t think that when I took a poli sci class in my freshman year, because I was like, oh, political science, that’s what people majoring. And I was like, I was sitting there, and I was like, I really could be doing this at Berkeley. I could be doing this at anywhere in the country. I should be, I should want to find something that’s really unique to this institution.

Jerri Hemsworth 6:48
I love it. I love that concept. I’d never heard of it. And I think it sounds fantastic. Yeah, I

Scott Levin – Chief PeaceKeeper & Divorce Mediator 6:53
Yeah, I hope it still exists. I gotta look it up.

Jerri Hemsworth 6:55
Check it out. So how did you did you intentionally want to come back to San Diego after UVA? Or how did that transition?

Scott Levin – Chief PeaceKeeper & Divorce Mediator 7:03
I mean, I didn’t I didn’t view myself as coming necessarily coming home. You know, growing up, I thought I wouldn’t. But yeah, after going UVA, deciding where you’re going to take the bar, you know, it’s a big deal. I didn’t really want to take I didn’t see myself wanting, being that enthusiastic about taking apart and in New York or, you know, Georgia or wherever, Washington, DC and then having that take a second one for California later. So yeah, it was, you know, just kind of ended up back here and started living with my wife, and just kind of never left.

Jerri Hemsworth 7:42
Who takes it, then then it starts right.

Scott Levin – Chief PeaceKeeper & Divorce Mediator 7:46
Yeah, you know, we’re we have a pretty decent thing going so it’s been fun.

Jerri Hemsworth 7:51
nice. And you said you have three little ones? Yeah,

Scott Levin – Chief PeaceKeeper & Divorce Mediator 7:55
yeah, I have a 13 year old, 13,10 and 5, so yeah. Nice. Three boys.

Jerri Hemsworth 8:02
Oh, boy. Your wife must be busy.

Scott Levin – Chief PeaceKeeper & Divorce Mediator 8:06
Yeah, we got Yeah, she’s busy. She’s She’s, she’s all over the place. Yeah, we’re we we make it work. We were a good team.

Jerri Hemsworth 8:14
So something in what I see in you, tells me you’re a baseball fan.

Scott Levin – Chief PeaceKeeper & Divorce Mediator 8:21
You know it more it looks like more of a fan than I probably am. But yes, I know. So I have all sorts of things hanging all over our office, sports or family. I just, you know, I like to I don’t like blank walls. So yeah. But it does look like I’m a huge baseball fan. But I am a collector.

Jerri Hemsworth 8:42
So I have to ask you, is that a special collection behind you?

Scott Levin – Chief PeaceKeeper & Divorce Mediator 8:46
I’m a very addictive personality. So I have to hear that in certain ways. So sometimes I’ll get on a kick where I’m collecting something for a couple years and then I change up so this is what’s kind of left from from one of those benders. Probably about 300 game used bats in the mid 2006 to 2008 timeframe. Wow, what happened to game used bat so those are like bats that are actually like used by the players in the games. That market way. Absolutely insane. So what I could have bought for 2,3,400 now sells for 2,3,4000 just I guess like everything else, or more so I don’t collect them anymore. I’m not allowed to but

Jerri Hemsworth 9:37
I was gonna say 300 takes a lot of storage space and you probably have…

Scott Levin – Chief PeaceKeeper & Divorce Mediator 9:41
I’ve gottent rid of, this was kind of what’s left. Yeah, we’ve Yeah, the last thing I want to do is is is like kick over and leave my family with a whole bunch of stuff that they don’t know how to deal with it. So

Jerri Hemsworth 9:51
So it’s, it’s impressive because I’m seeing about 14 bats, baseball bats on the wall behind you.

Scott Levin – Chief PeaceKeeper & Divorce Mediator 9:58
Yeah, those are those are those are kind are the best ones. But there’s yeah, there’s some good ones there. Yeah.

Jerri Hemsworth 10:04
What’s the most impressive one that you’ve gotten that in that display.

Scott Levin – Chief PeaceKeeper & Divorce Mediator 10:07
Well there’s one. There’s a Nolan Ryan game bat, which he was a pitcher. And he spent a lot of years in the American League where they didn’t hit. So it is only the years that he was in the National League did he hit and, and he wrote game bat on that, that they don’t like doing that players because they, they’re just starting to that they want to that, first of all, they know what that means. It makes it that much more valuable. And they’re not really like looking to help people make this stuff that they used to own, you know, more valuable for somebody else to sell. But yeah, that’s a pretty rare thing for him to, to write on a bat. They’ve they kind of inspect it to make sure that they feel like this was actually something they use another one, there’s a David Ortiz back, that was one of the last homeruns that he hit with that bat. And it’s like, a bat that, that that’s identified with that. They like can they verify it and take pictures and all that. So that’s pretty. That’s pretty cool to see. And he’s more of a modern player, which I like.

Jerri Hemsworth 11:11
I’m sure. I had the the honor of interviewing Ron Cey last year. He lives only about two miles from our office here. And we interviewed him up in his shrine office, and it was very impressive. The collection that he has, yeah. You know, because He’s truly a fan of baseball too. So, you know, it was Willie Mays was and Willie Mays, Hank Aaron and all that he’s got signatures and signed stuff from everybody because he’d go up and go, can you sign this for me? You know, and here he is third base for the Dodgers. It was pretty cool.

Scott Levin – Chief PeaceKeeper & Divorce Mediator 11:48
Yeah, you know, my kids did not take to baseball at all. So like, we we, you know, I like to take him to games and stuff. But yeah, they they, they don’t like going to baseball games. So it turns out most of my time, I don’t go to baseball games myself. But yeah.

Jerri Hemsworth 12:06
What other collections Do you have that are that you love?

Scott Levin – Chief PeaceKeeper & Divorce Mediator 12:10
Well, you know, I get nerdy I get I have all sorts of stuff. I have coins that I was really into from like, Ancient Egypt for a long time. I have cards that are signed by presidents that have pretty much I think I’m missing a couple of the more modern ones that are very accessible. I just kind of stopped collecting but yeah, I have pretty much like a really cool signature on a really cool in a really cool way from each President going back. Yeah, pretty much until like, you know, 1998 I think or 2000. Sorry. Guys are not hard to find. Right. And I have a bunch of Michael Jordan stuff because I grew up in the 90s. And Michael Jordan was everything. Yeah. Got jerseys of his I have a lot of Kobe Bryant stuff. Because, you know, how can you not love Kobe is still the saddest thing that’s happened in a long time was hearing that news.

Jerri Hemsworth 13:13
Yeah. And that was only about another two miles from here as well. Yeah.

Scott Levin – Chief PeaceKeeper & Divorce Mediator 13:17
That was just the worst. But yeah, so just all sorts of stuff.

Jerri Hemsworth 13:24
That’s very cool. Well, I have to imagine that when you have clients come into your office, and they see things like this, and the different collections, and as they get to talk with you, they identify and probably feel a little more at ease. That because my impression of you is not a stuffy attorney, not you know, you’re somebody that can relate very easily.

Scott Levin – Chief PeaceKeeper & Divorce Mediator 13:49
There’s giant pictures of my kids over just right across the way as well. So I mean, yeah, I mean, you know, I, like, you know, and I’d like to make it feel like warm or interesting, or, you know, people are always like in a, in a waiting area, there’s, there’s stuff out there too. And people are always saying, Hey, what’s this about? What’s going on? It just gets the conversation kind of started. And then, you know, when we’re actually doing our work and talking about dividing things, I oftentimes will say, Oh, do you guys any, you have any crap like I have that you’ve wasted money on

Jerri Hemsworth 14:21

Scott Levin – Chief PeaceKeeper & Divorce Mediator 14:22
Kind of just as convenient? Well, I don’t say it necessarily, like,

Jerri Hemsworth 14:25
yeah, no, I get it, I get it.

Scott Levin – Chief PeaceKeeper & Divorce Mediator 14:28
It’s just like, makes it kind of easier transition that kind of goes

Jerri Hemsworth 14:33
well as a CDFA. Do you have do, do valuations? Do you use valuators and stuff like that?

Scott Levin – Chief PeaceKeeper & Divorce Mediator 14:42
I don’t do valuations on businesses, That’s a specialty

Jerri Hemsworth 14:46
On collections or things like that?

Scott Levin – Chief PeaceKeeper & Divorce Mediator 14:49
you know, if I felt like I could, it doesn’t usually come up. But if I, you know, I certainly valuations. You know, we need to know what things are worth to divide them in. in family law, so I have great connections to the people that I would want to use if it were me in all sorts of areas. Yeah, whether that’s, you know, private stock awards and trying to understand values of those things, or restricted stock units or stock options, or baseball bat collections, or, you know, silver and gold, you know, really like, I like to say like, when somebody I’d be overseeing that Pawn Shop, TV show. Yeah, when it comes in, I think his name’s Rick Harrison are Rich, one of the, he’s like, Well, let me get a friend of mine down here to like, help me understand what this is worth, before I make you an offer. Like, I’d like to think that I have the, those same sort of connections for people so that when they need something, I have the right people that can help.

Jerri Hemsworth 15:52
Exactly, exactly. So in closing, I’d love to hear one of your favorite success stories of one of your clients, you know, tell us tell us a bit about the challenge and the success of it.

Scott Levin – Chief PeaceKeeper & Divorce Mediator 16:06
Yeah, I had a case, last year that I helped a couple with, they had been married, not gonna, of course, give too much information, but they were married a long time, you know, 35 plus years. They had been very, very successful. He’s, he is currently a, you know, a CEO of a company, they’ve been CEO of many companies over the years, she, they had four kids that were early adults, you know, 20s to 35, in that range. And, you know, one of them came out as gay, you know, you know, the end, and then, you know, there was a lot of confusion and hurt feelings, but because of the degree of wealth, they had accumulated. I would be a very expensive, you know, divorce situation, and they, they decided that they wanted to figure out a way, you know, to keep the money in the family, and, you know, stay connected, and they, they have the hope of being loving, and, you know, honoring their past and staying, you know, staying committed to their family and kids. But the complications could have been extraordinarily expensive to uncouple if they hadn’t mediated in my opinion. So we were able to come to a successful resolution. And two days after we signed the settlement agreement, in my office with both them. The wife, mom, wife sent me a message with a picture of both of them, and their brand new grandchild that had just been born and them sitting next to each other. And she said, this would never have happened, if it wasn’t for you, we’d never would have been in this room together, we never would have been able to get through this. We would have just been at the start line still. And, you know, we cherish the time we have with you and we appreciate it. So that was really special. Because it was just like, the timing just kind of worked out in a way that they she was able to communicate that in a really meaningful way. And I, yeah, so that’s, that’s kind of an example of what I can help people with. I mean, you know, when you when you do a business deal that goes wrong. You know, a lot of businesses that sue each other, they don’t necessarily ever have to interact again, you know, they’re not doing business together. It was a one time thing. It didn’t go well. And now there’s a disagreement and they can go scorched earth, because what, what does it matter? They don’t have an ongoing partnership. Well, you know, co parents have an ongoing partnership. And, and to, to be able to facilitate and negotiate and communicate in the future. The litigation and litigated and contested divorce process makes it very hard to be successful in that endeavor. You know, most people end up when they look contested divorce, they ended up back in court afterwards, because they have disputes that are ongoing, when they have co parenting issues. So the mediation rates for contested situations later are minimal. So I mean, it’s just sets you up to be you know, much more successful. I last night, we I had a mediation here, where they don’t have kids, but they care for each other, and they don’t want to hurt each other. And so they are able to negotiate settlements, that keep them outside of court and that, you know, we you know, in a, you know, two three hours we did the whole arrangement now, it’s off to draft everything but wow. And complicated finances. It wasn’t like it was You know, married a year with nothing but a blank bank account. So, complexity is not a problem in mediation, it’s a willingness to negotiate and to deal with each other and listen to each other’s concerns and needs and then address those in a settlement that you can both live with.

Jerri Hemsworth 20:17
Beautiful. Well Scott Levin, Chief Peacekeeper, aka San Diego divorce mediator. Thank you so much for being with me this morning.

Scott Levin – Chief PeaceKeeper & Divorce Mediator 20:26
Thank you. I appreciate it.

Jerri Hemsworth 20:27
Okay, take care.

Announcer 20:38
Presented by Echelon Business Development. More than just networking. Way more.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

As CEO and Creative Director at Newman Grace, Jerri leads one of Los Angeles’ most respected marketing firm and brand communication firms. Newman Grace has been providing marketing, brand and advertising consulting, graphic design, and social media services to growing companies since 1996. Newman Grace serves the professional services, manufacturing, sports, publishing and non-profit markets. Jerri is an adjunct professor in the School of Media, Culture and Design at Woodbury University. She is also a co-founder of Echelon Business Development Network. Learn more about Jerri here at Newman Grace.