Valerie J. Botter

Collaborative Attorney and Mediator

Who Am I?

As an experienced Massachusetts attorney and mediator addressing separation, divorce, and co-parenting issues, I help individuals and couples reach sophisticated, detailed settlements in their divorces and other family law matters. I bring 37 years of mediating, negotiating, and trial experience to my mediation and collaborative practice. Whether the issue is child-related, financial, or interpersonal, I am skilled at helping my clients reach satisfactory and equitable results. At all times, I am committed to helping my clients prioritize their children’s emotional well being and best interests throughout the process.

I am a 1981 graduate of Oberlin College and a 1986 graduate of Northeastern University School of Law. After law school, I served as a law clerk to the Justices of the Massachusetts Superior Court and then joined a boutique Boston family law firm in 1987. In 1989, I completed a comprehensive training course in divorce mediation. In 1990, I moved to Western Massachusetts and opened my solo law and mediation practice shortly thereafter.

In 1994, I co-founded Schmidt & Botter, a Northampton law firm. In 1995, I was admitted as a fellow in the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML), a national organization of highly experienced and successful domestic relations practitioners. In 2001, I returned to solo practice as an attorney and expanded my mediation and conciliation practice while continuing to offer traditional representation services. In 2006, I completed a comprehensive training course in collaborative divorce negotiation.

In 2020, I concluded my litigation practice, completing my final multi-day trial in 2022. I now primarily offer mediation services and continue to provide legal advice and collaborative services in select matters.

Valerie J. Botter

I have been a member of the Hampshire County Bar Association since 1990, a member of the Massachusetts Council on Family Mediation since 1989, and a member of the Massachusetts Collaborative Law Council since 2006. In the early 1990s, I co-founded the Hampshire County Bar Association Conciliation Program, an Alternative Dispute Resolution Program for Hampshire Probate and Family Court that is approved by the Trial Court. I have also served as a steering committee member of the Family Resolutions Specialty Court (FRSC) at Hampshire Probate and Family Court since its inception. I have been named a Massachusetts Super Lawyer each year since 2010 and have a distinguished status with Martindale-Hubbell as a lawyer with a very high rating in both legal ability and ethical standards. I previously and am currently serving on the Board of Governors of the Massachusetts AAML Chapter.

I am originally from the New York City metropolitan area. I was raised with an appreciation for justice, compassion, and community service. My father was a trial and appellate court judge who primarily sat in Hackensack, New Jersey. My mother was a social worker in New Jersey, Harlem, and New Rochelle, New York. My mother’s family has a long history of philanthropic work including founding the Vera Institute of Justice currently in Brooklyn, New York, a non-profit organization focused on criminal justice and immigration reform.

Following my parents’ divorce when I was in second grade, I lived with my mother in Manhattan until the summer before tenth grade, when I moved in with my father, step-mother, and step-brothers in Bergen County, New Jersey. That process involved me speaking to a Judge about changing my residence. I have a deep understanding and appreciation of the complexity of extended family dynamics and the importance of shielding children from parental conflict during separation and beyond.

I have lived in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts since 1981. My second husband and I have a blended family of five adult children and three young grandchildren, and we are friendly with our children’s other parents. I am passionate about relationships, design, skiing, horseback riding, and equal justice. An empty nester since 2017, I now have a much loved Cobberdog.


  • J.D. Northeastern University School of Law
  • B.A., Oberlin College


  • American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers
  • Hampshire County Bar Association
  • Massachusetts Council on Family Mediation
  • Massachusetts Collaborative Law Council
  • Association of Family and Conciliation Courts