How Collaborative Law Works
Collaborative Law is a method of settling disputes in a respectful manner. It is based on a set of principles that significantly change the dynamics between people from adversarial to collaborative. The process is client-centered, requiring attorneys (and clients) to make critical and essential shifts in thinking and control. The central tenet is that clients agree to use a negotiation structure that requires at the very outset they will not use or threaten to use litigation and will engage in an open exchange of relevant information.
Central Collaborative Law principles include:
- A commitment to reach a resolution without court intervention or threatening court intervention.
- An agreement that if either client seeks court intervention, both attorneys (and their firms) must withdraw from representation.
- A promise by all participants to negotiate in good faith by remaining open and flexible, disclosing all pertinent information and using constructive and respectful communication methods.
- An agreement that all communications in the Collaborative Law process, as all documents prepared in connection with it, are inadmissible in any future proceeding without the express written consent of all participants.
The concept of Collaborative Law was conceived in 1989 by Stu Webb, a family law attorney in Minneapolis, who realized that court trials in dissolution cases were inflicting greater injury to families than the underlying divorce itself. Since 1989, the practice of Collaborative Law has developed and grown and is now successfully practiced across the United States, Canada and Europe, not only in family law but in business, commercial, probate and employment law as well.
Collaborative Law is a viable way to resolve legal disputes and is an efficient, cost-effective alternative to win-or-lose litigation.