Author: brewadmin

Time Flies

Time Flies | Prism Group

The final months of the year always seem to pass at an exceptionally expedited pace. There is the return to school in the still-sweltering heat (at least for those of us in South Louisiana), followed by the first tease of “cool” weather in late September, then the welcomed arrival of Halloween to kick off the “holiday season,” when we all start realizing how late in the year it really is, getting excited for Thanksgiving, but inevitably anxious about Christmas and New Year’s plans.

Where will we go? What will we cook? When are the kids out of school? Which family will be in town? What gift to get for the hard-to-shop-for in-laws? Should we host a party? Have we been invited to a party? Who gets to help get the decorations from the attic? Didn’t we say we’d do things differently this year…

Suddenly, time starts to rapidly accelerate and we all just accept our fate of running around like chickens with our heads cut off, saying empty-but-polite holiday greetings, smiling through clenched teeth as we try to remind ourselves to be jolly and joyful. Year after year, we are sucked into the rush, the hustle, the bustle, the getting here and going there, only to arrive at January 1st with an exhale and a “Wow, those last few months just flew by!” or a “Man, where did December go?”

How easy it is to get swept up in the rush of the holidays and excuse it with all kinds of seemingly-rational reasons: the kids needed those gifts, the party had to be hosted (it’s a tradition!), that work had to be done before the 1st… But what would it look like to make the holidays about pausing and opening up time in our schedules rather than filling all the empty spaces with shopping, cooking, planning, working?

What would it look like if that cup of hot chocolate just had to be sipped, that board game just had to be played, that Sunday drive just had to be taken?

What would the holidays look like if we prioritized presence over presents, taking a walk in the woods over running through the stores, coming home early over staying and working late? What would your holidays look like if you slowed down? What would January 1st feel like if you didn’t look back and wonder where the time went?

We’re asking ourselves the same things and working on a different way of experiencing time this holiday season, too.

Introducing Prism Group’s Newest Mediator: Michelle Sorrells

Introducing Prism Group’s Newest Mediator: Michelle Sorrells | Prism Group

The Prism Team is growing, but not just for growth’s sake. Any growth at Prism is focused first and foremost on maintaining and improving our services and valued relationships with our customers. For us, that growth always starts with our people because at Prism – people matter

With the upgrades and enhancements to the now ten mediation rooms at our office, Claris Pointe, a demand for “the Prism way” of mediation has blossomed, leading us to bring on a third mediator to the team, Michelle Sorrells.

Michelle comes to Prism Group, adding value with her extensive work and life experience:

  • A wife and mother of two grown daughters
  • Active in her community, both professionally and personally
  • 25 years of active practice in workers’ compensation
  • An LSU Law School graduate
  • Adjunct professorship at Southern Law School teaching workers’ compensation as well as implementing and facilitating the Workers’ Compensation Clinic as part of Southern University Law Center’s Clinical Program
  • Outstanding technical and excellent relational skills

We are very excited and fortunate to add Michelle’s impressive technical skills to our team, but we are more excited about the invaluable people and relational skills Michelle brings to Prism Group. Her warmth, empathy, genuineness, and true investment in the resolution experience leads to a continuation of the trust, relationships, and results that have established Prism Group as the go-to team for resolution.

When she’s not working, Michelle can be found reading “anything and everything” (ideally on a beach), spending time with her two daughters and husband, or playing chess. She is eager to offer more availability and flexibility as the demand for mediations with Prism Group grows. Share in our excitement of adding Michelle to the Prism Group. Contact us today to schedule your mediation with Michelle and to welcome her to the Prism Group Team!

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The Reason for the Season

The Reason for the Season | Prism Group

Now an overused, worn out phrase, “the reason for the season” packs a deep punch that we often don’t think twice about after having heard it for years and seen it in countless ads. “The reason for the season:” Joy. Peace. Gratitude. Our individual stories of tradition & meaning. Of course, these are among the “reasons” we gather, we shop, we eat, and we “be merry” this time of year; but why only for a season?

The universal feelings of generosity, kindness, and togetherness that seem to be ubiquitously present this time of the year are hard to complain about, but if one critique could be offered it would be this: why do we reserve these feelings for a particular season? What would the other 9-10 months of the year feel like if we always acted as if everyone deserved a hot meal around a table with loved ones? Or we didn’t save speaking our gratitudes aloud for one day of the year in our best dressed clothes in our own dining room? Or we went door-to-door singing things besides carols at other times of the year?

To be fair, the “magic” of Christmas or Thanksgiving would surely be diminished if they were monthly occurrences (and our waistlines would surely not be diminished if this were the case!), but what if we could take the “reasons” for “the season” and extend them beyond these last days of the year?

In our work as a mediation firm, Prism strives to keep these feelings alive not only in the way we interact with clients, but in the way we treat everyone who walks through our doors, in the way we decorate our office, in the services we provide, and in the way we live even beyond the walls of our office. We truly aim to have joy in our work. To bring peace to conflicted parties. To have gratitude even when the days are long. In this way, “the reasons for the season” last through the year and make what we do here different. We hope you agree, and we hope you accept this invitation to extend joy, peace, gratitude, and all the other “reasons” for the season beyond just this holiday season.

Taking Time In

Taking Time In | Prism Group

We hear and use the term “taking time off” frequently in our culture. But the seemingly harmless preposition “off” here places focus on the thing we’re trying to get away from, rather than the thing(s) we might be seeking to move towards. In a culture hyper-focused on work and productivity, taking time “off” can be challenging, sometimes even more stressful than just “staying on,” but what about if we think of it as time “in” or time “with” instead?

At Prism Group, we not only have a 4-day work week for each of our employees, we also have no strict vacation policy. It’s not because we don’t believe in the value of hard work. It’s because we understand that the best work happens when each of us is able to show up as our best selves, and we know that “Self” is cultivated through rest, time with family and friends, time away from the office, time with nature. Even while knowing this, we still struggle to fully unplug, and we too wrestle with the elusive “work-life balance.” However, after time with grandchildren, time in the garden, time with a book, or a weekend away with a loved one, the power of “time off” becomes clearer than ever.

The truth is, we all need time “off.” It’s impossible to always be “on,” and we are called human beings not human doings for a reason! Our time “being” might look different for all of us, but its value is practically the same: to keep us grounded in who we are, not just what we do, and remind us of the things that truly matter in life. 

We know it can be hard. We know it can be scary. We feel those things too when we take time “off” in order to spend some time “in” and “with,” but we encourage you to make sure you take some time for you soon, so that you can continue to show up as the best “you” you can be, not only at work, but at home, with your family, with your friends, and your community.

Navigating the Challenges of Conflict

Navigating the Challenges of Conflict

At Prism Group, one way we approach mediation differently is by focusing on conflict management rather than conflict elimination. Of course, a magic wand that eliminates conflict completely seems like the dream, but we believe a more realistic and beneficial approach is to help our clients manage their conflicts rather than try to eliminate them. In a workers’ compensation case, an injury occurs that brings about a case (conflict) and the reality is this: the injury can’t be undone. Eliminating the “problem” is not an option. A better use of time, then, is to help our clients see their case through a different lens and shift their goal from that of elimination, to management.

This is just another way we see mediation skills as life skills. Learning to seek conflict management instead of beating one’s head against the wall and wishing the problem away is a strategy that applies within every relationship in our lives: familial, social, professional, marital. Many times, in mediation and in life, we can get hung up on wishing the problem simply wouldn’t exist, and we can easily get frustrated and spin our wheels with no progress. But when we can learn to better manage the problem and continue living a fulfilled life regardless of the presence of “conflicts,” our happiness no longer hinges on living a “problem-free” life.

Just like in mediation, in life, we cannot go backwards and undo the things that cause conflicts to arise. We can, though, learn how to better navigate our lives with the presence of these conflicts and still maintain a vibrant, happy life even if there are conflicts present! Management over elimination is a mindset every mediator for Prism Group uses in every case, and we believe it’s valuable inside and outside of the mediation room.

Language Matters

How many times have you been “arguing” or passionately discussing something with someone, only to be misunderstood?
“That’s not what I meant!”
“Maybe that was the wrong word.”
“I didn’t mean that.”

Even within the same language, communication can be messy and frustrating. It’s no wonder then, that second-language English speakers can struggle even more to express themselves and understand clearly the intentions, nuances and subtleties of language when communicating in their non-native language.

Language and communication is especially important in mediation when there are several parties involved, each with their own motivations and different outcomes on the line. Each party is also entering the case with varying levels of legal knowledge, case details, as well as personal life factors of the injured worker that may be valuable to the outcome of the case. Making sure the injured worker– the ultimate decision maker– is heard, understood, and educated about his/her case is critical to a smooth and successful settlement for all involved.

When Prism Group started mediating cases with native Spanish speakers, we knew how important it would be to ensure those participants felt heard and educated about their case. That’s when we brought Vanessa Frincingues on board as our Spanish translator. Vanessa’s skills are unique and extremely valuable because not only is she fluent in Spanish and English, but she also understands mediation and worker’s comp. She’s not just translating words, she’s translating frustration, urgency, fear, confusion, relief, peace. She’s teaching, explaining, listening, without interjecting her own perspective into the case. As a translator, her job is to simply communicate a message between two speakers of different languages, not try to persuade or push.

Vanessa is also a native Spanish speaker, which matters a lot to our Spanish-speaking participants. The minute they find out they can connect with her over their language and know that they will not be misinterpreted by someone who may not understand completely what they’re saying, the ease and comfort they feel is palpable in the room. Language matters. We are thrilled and grateful to have Vanessa as a part of the Prism mediation team.



As schools empty, summer camps begin, and the temperatures rise, we’re all getting into the long-awaited summer groove of long, lingering, mosquito-filled nights on patios, where the fans are blowing, the sun is setting, and time seems to slow down.

This distortion of time is perhaps why, for kids, summer is the ultimate stretch of fun and freedom: it appears endless. This seeming infiniteness allows for wild imaginings and an ability to soak up the moment like no other. There is the thrill of staying up past your school year bedtime, backyard water games with friends, frequent visits to the snow cone stand and ice cream shop, and no end in sight to all the things you’ve wanted to do that have previously been off-limits due to homework and bedtime.

Summertime. Sweet summertime.
Those were the days, remember?!

As childhood turns to adulthood and we graduate (literally) from school to work, this “summertime” feeling can fade away and be replaced with the stress of shuttling kids to and fro, planning vacations that turn into just new places to check our email, and simply longer, hotter workdays. That “sweet summertime” feeling we had in childhood becomes a thing of the past, and summer turns into just another season.

However, the truth is that the infinite joyful freedom we felt as barefoot pre-teens and newly-licensed teenagers is still within us all. That wild imagination and ability to soak up a moment for all it is still lives within us. We have to surrender.

Put down our phones and pick up a pool toy.
Leave our emails at the office and be fully off the clock.
Roll down the windows, turn up the music, and dance.

Summertime. Sweet summertime.
These are the days, remember?

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When I entered law school (35 years ago), the admissions test had removed the previously required math section. The reasoning for this was that lawyers, by and large, didn’t need an acumen for numbers. Maybe the admissions committee was right about most lawyers. Still, every day with our trusty HP-12c calculators in hand, Sean, Michelle and I run countless mathematical calculations involving discount rates and present value of future payment streams. Despite the numbers, it’s never the math that brings resolution. It’s the aspects of the human condition that we can never measure: empathy, compassion, patience, attention, and listening, to name a few.

This may seem basic, but we are a culture bent on metrics, if not obsessed with them. Recently, my wife and I went to one of our favorite eateries. When the waitress brought us our receipt, she asked us to go online and give her five stars (the highest mark) for her service that night. She explained this was important as her bosses wanted all of their employees to have “high five ratings.” She was an excellent waitress, and according to the restaurant’s 1-5 scale, I would have given her a 5. But having to ask for the rating so her bosses would feel she was “a good waitress” seemed to miss the point. By the numbers, it made sense, but the number had little relevance by the metrics of what really makes for a good service provider.

In his book, The Tyranny of Metrics, Jerry Muller coined the term “metric fixation” to describe our culture’s obsession with, or perhaps, addiction to, objective metrics. Muller suggests that if it can’t be measured, it can’t be improved; therefore, it is unimportant. Nothing could be further from the truth regarding helping those stuck in the legal system see options and choices they may not have previously considered. Try as we may, we can’t measure the human experience or the qualities that matter to us all: love, respect, empathy, listening, patience, non-judgment, vulnerability, authenticity, etc.

We often share with those in a mediation that while the math of your case is important, the math alone will never lead you to the choice best for you. Maybe the law school admissions committee was right about math not being essential to effective lawyering. Too bad they didn’t include a section on awareness of the human qualities so important to us all.


Would you like to stay informed of all the latest news around Prism Group? Click here to visit our contact page and then enter your email address at the bottom for newsletter sign-up. 

April Showers Bring More Than May Flowers

an image of beautiful white flower in a field that reads "April Showers Bring More Than May Flowers"

As the old saying goes, “April showers bring May flowers,” but sometimes it’s more difficult to see the flowers for the showers. This last year has been a season of waiting and hoping that the “showers” will one day give way to new “flowers.” Over the past few weeks, as more and more of our world has moved into increasing activity and what some have called “normalcy,” the flowers are now beginning to show up more and more.

The phones and emails at Prism have been buzzing like bees helping our customers find their way to resolution. The days are longer and warmer. And unlike a year ago when streets were all but vacant, people are walking, riding bikes, boiling crawfish, and celebrating the joys of being alive. Of course, our bees at Claris Pointe know little difference between this year and last year. But as warmer weather and nectar-producing flowers show up, the bees have begun their annual 90 day sprint to make all the honey for this next year. Thankfully, the bees in their diligence and untiring work ethic have an abundance that leaves us with one of Nature’s sweetest treats: honey.

It’s easy to forget the “flower” times when it feels like all we see are the “showers,” but without the rain we have no flowers. Despite our desire for endless long, warm, sunny times, we need the rain and showers of life to soften us, to awaken the seeds of life that lead to new “flowers.” In the Judeo-Christian tradition, April is often the time of Easter. Like the saying, “April showers bring May flowers”, the Easter celebration reminds us that without Good Friday there is no Easter.

Enjoy the showers, for soon the flowers will once again remind us that there is always more to life than what we may be currently seeing in front of us.

March Maybe

March Maybe blog

I have long been a lover of Nature. By “Nature,” I mean more than the beauty of a sunset or the clouds rolling in the sky with no apparent agenda or destination other than simply sharing their beauty. Nature fascinates me with its seasons, its constant dynamic change, its continual spatial flow compared to our often linear illusory belief that life is static, objective, and defined by our individual destinations and separateness. It is Nature’s connectedness, its unity that helps me remember we are part of a community and not isolated, separate individuals.

A few times every year, the Prism Group team pauses from the daily hustle and spends a few hours sharing and reflecting on our roles at home, at work, and within the broader community. We let a theme or focus drive our discussions. This year’s focus is the short phrase “room for maybe.” Much of what we read, hear, watch, and experience is framed by boundaries and lines that seem so permanent and fixed. Static barriers that often make life seem stilted and tiring. No room for maybe, no room for possibility and flexibility.

March is Nature’s reminder that new life is but a bud away. Soon our days will be longer and warmer, and birds and bees will be singing and buzzing reminding us that despite the bleakness of winter and its freezes, March maybe is about to blossom. And March reminds us at Prism, there is always room for maybe, if we’ll only stop long enough to look and listen to the new ways of being and living.

But a mindset of “room for maybe” won’t happen as long as we lock our minds and spirits in the daily barrage of boundaries built on certainty.

Give March a chance to remind you that there is always “room for maybe” in life. Take a few minutes and glance at what Nature is about. We all need a little more “room for maybe.” And maybe March can be the beginning of that space for you!