Extending the reach of collaborative law

Extending the reach of collaborative law 14 October 2013

Lawyers who promise to resign if they do not reach an agreement so they cannot gain from litigation

Family Collaborative Law began in the late 1980s. The process consists of a written agreement requiring the parties and their lawyers to proceed honestly and in good faith and participate in the voluntary exchange of relevant information. Participants begin by recognizing the interests and concerns of each party.

One of the innovations is the provision in the collaborative participation agreement that requires the collaborative lawyers to withdraw if the parties proceed to an adversarial form of dispute resolution. This ensures commitment of the lawyers to the collaborative outcome. Next, information regarding the issues is gathered and exchanged. Once the parties have sufficient information, they brainstorm to discover options, evaluate the options, and negotiate resolution. In the collaborative process, “us” are the lawyers and parties, and “them” are the issues in dispute.

Read about this successful innovation entry in the 2013 Innovating Justice Awards