Collaborative Law

Collaborative Law is an alternative to the adversarial system of resolving disputes. Each client hires an attorney specially trained in Collaborative Law and all participants begin by agreeing that they will not file suit against one another or utilize the courts for obtaining orders while the Collaborative process is ongoing. Collaborative lawyers and their clients agree to try to use a cooperative, problem solving approach to settlement. A Collaborative Law resolution is one that the parties are more likely to be satisfied with and more likely to adhere to, since it is one reached through open and voluntary sharing of information and problem solving.

The Tenets of Collaborative Law:

Both parties must be represented by Collaborative Counsel.

Collaborative Counsel are hired for the specific purpose of reaching a settlement without litigation.

Although clients do not permanently give up their right to litigate, they temporarily take that option off the table.

If the parties fail to reach a resolution, one or both may file a lawsuit. However, the collaborative lawyers must withdraw and both parties must hire new counsel. For this reason, all participants in the collaborative process have an economic and emotional incentive to make it succeed.

The process of collaborative law begins by each party signing a participation agreement, outlining roles and expectations. Clarifying the ground rules form the beginning helps keep settlement on track.

Collaborative law proceeds through a series of four-way meetings in which clients participate equally with lawyers.

Resolution is achieved by joint problem-solving, seeking to satisfy each party’s underlying interests.

Collaborative lawyers advocate for their clients and protect their rights but also recognize the legitimate concerns of the other side.

The parties agree to exchange voluntarily all information necessary to arrive at a resolution.

If experts are needed, the parties agree to hire them jointly and ensure their neutrality.

The parties agree to conduct themselves in a way that will preserve their relationship.