Norman G. Lavery

 Community-based practitioner /

Circle Experience

In 1993 Norm incorporated Common Quest Mediation as a way to help people resolve their problems without enduring costly battles. He learned about the Circle process in 1990, and formed the non-profit Community Circles program in 2002.

Areas of Interest and Service

Norm is the author of The Power of Circles: A Guide to Building Peaceful, Just, and Productive Communities, One Circle at a Time.  In his book, Dr. Lavery points out that communication is the key to all successful human interactions. In light of the expanding use of texting and other forms of electronic communication, we risk losing the personal, face-to-face meetings that have been the mainstay of positive relationships for thousands of years. Lavery shows how the Circle process is a powerful tool for overcoming this situation, as it offers a way to enhance communications, build and rebuild relationships, and improve problem-solving capacities within familey, neighborhoods, schools, corporations, and civic organizations.

Norm is a founding member of the Montana Mediation Association, the Community Dispute Resolution Center of Missoula County, and the founder of Community Circles.  Community Circles is willing to present Circle Keeper training seminars, help organizations design and implement Circle programs, and advise on any aspect of community-building using the Circle process. His compelling goal  is to guide people to interact more effectively, using the Circle process.  He teaches conflict resolution, communication, and management skills courses, and facilitates group meetings throughout the western United States.

Narratives by participants in the Community Circles program attest to the capacity of people and groups to work together to resolve contentious issues, especially when they are provided with a safe place in which to tell their stories and be listened to by others – without judgement.


Norm’s research interests include aboriginal justice systems, processes for moving groups from debate to dialogue, the power of questions, the impact of judgmental labels, and the creative process. Norm has a doctorate in geology, has taught skiing for forty years, loves hiking and canoeing, and builds one-of-a-kind wooden furniture and art pieces.

Norma is honored to recognize the following individuals as mentors on his Restorative Justice journey: Kay Pranis, Howard Zehr, Mark Umbreit, and Phil Gatensby.


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