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Gene D. Barr

I came to being an attorney late in life. I was a commercial contractor for 35 years and at age 38 had no formal education. After suffering several knee and shoulder surgeries I was told to find another occupation or suffer the consequences later in life; taking that warning seriously, I attended night school for 12 years while working full time. During those 12 years I earned my Associates Degree (1989), Bachelors Degree (1991), Juris Doctorate (1996), Masters in Education (1998), and Masters in Business Administration in 2000. I was admitted to the New York State Bar on November 17, 1999, at which time I began building my practice. Three years later I sold my construction business and took to law full time.

In 2006 I was elected the first Co-Chair of the newly formed Suffolk County Bar Association’s Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee. On June 1st, 2007, I received the Suffolk County Bar Association’s “DIRECTOR’S AWARD” in recognition of contributions to the ADR Committee and for dedication and long standing commitment toward furthering the ideals of the legal profession.

The unique qualities I bring to my practice are a result of 35 years of negotiating business deals and managing a diverse and often complex labor force. I accept that I cannot help you heal your marriage; that I do not have the education, nor professional experience to help you reconcile it. What I can do is assist you in negotiating a comprehensive and fair settlement, in a respectful manner, that provides your family the greatest opportunity to move forward through the difficulties of divorce to the healing process.

Because choosing the right mediator is an important decision I believe that you should have a better understanding of who I am and what I believe in. The principles of my life and practice are simple:

-First, I define myself as a father before all else.
- Second, do no harm
- Treat others with the respect that you would ask of them.
- No one is in a better position to determine what’s right for a family - than the family itself.
- A family going through divorce is a family in crisis.

Children are emotional receptors and internalize their emotional environment; the emotional environment of a family contemplating or pursuing divorce is fraught with tension, frustration, anxiety, and fear of the unknown future. Although your children may not verbally express their fears and concerns they nonetheless know that “something” is happening, and that “something” is nothing good.

Although you may be parting as husband and wife – you remain mom & dad. Having children is a lifelong commitment because, once we have children, our lives are devoted to them and subject to their growth. Whatever the age of your children there will always be family functions, holidays, graduations, award ceremonies, sporting events, extracurricular activities, weddings, christenings, bah and bat mitzvahs, birthdays and all those things associated with family where you will either enjoy those events as a family or as bitter adversaries.

Finally, I would like to share with you two poems that have philosophically defined my life. The first is by William Henley given to me by my mother in darker times. The second is by Bertrand Russell and speaks for itself.