Why Professionals Should Join the KCCL
Collaborative work is different from traditional legal, mental health, or financial work in that it necessarily involves being part of a team (even if that is a small team of just two attorneys). One aspect of that the team nature of the work is that to develop our skills in this area it is important to spend time developing a set of shared understandings about how to work in a team.
While it is certainly possible to do Collaborative Law cases without being a part of a practice group like KCCL, being a part of a practice group greatly enhances your potential for creating a successful Collaborative practice.
For a team to work smoothly, they need to have common understandings of basic protocols as well as more complex issues. These range from what should be in the participation agreement and the role of the various team members to dealing with conflicts between team members, how to deal with outside advisors, when cases should be terminated, and how to handle DV or substance abuse issues.
Being a member of KCCL brings you in contact with other Collaborative professionals, which is useful for networking as well as learning from each other. You may want to attend trainings put on by KCCL or attend the Family Law Practice Group. You will also get to know other Collaborative professionals through your committee work.
A second reason why belonging to KCCL is important is the fact that Collaborative practice is particularly referral based. Because we work on teams, one of the sources of business is having clients referred to you by other Collaborative professionals. To receive referrals, it is very helpful to be on the KCCL member list. Not only is that a place many Collaborative professionals go to when they are looking for names to refer to because it is easy, but also because being on that list gives certain assurances. Being a KCCL member signifies that you have been trained in Collaboration and Mediation and are up to date in your continuing education. It shows that you are serious about your Collaborative practice, and that you are an active participant in the Collaborative community.
Many of us have had the bad experience of trying to do a Collaborative case with someone who is not fully trained, or not fully committed to the work. Generally such cases do not work out well. Therefore it has been my practice, and I assume the practice of many others, to not accept cases with professionals who are not on the KCCL list, because if they are not on the list, then I have no idea as to whether they are even minimally qualified.
Being a member of KCCL shows that the public that you have the training and commitment necessary to do high quality Collaborative work.