I’ve been practicing collaborative law since 2001 and I’ve been a trainer with attorneys and for neutrals in collaborative law. In the collaborative law process wee have what we call neutrals, which are CPA’s and social workers that don’t represent either party. But they come into the case and actually help the parties get through all the bumps. With my experience in this, I’m not going to say that all of the cases have worked out, but the vast majority of them do settle, and I think it is a much a better settlement because its a settlement that is created by the clients and not by the attorney.
An attorney that says that they do collaborative law cases but doesn’t have the proper training and doesn’t have the experience is a little problem because we didn’t come out of law school with classes in collaborative law. It is something that is actually self taught or with training that was done after getting out of law school. And it is a little opposite of your mindset from a litigator. As a litigator, the attorney is standing out front, and he is doing all the arguing and basically all the fighting in court, whereas in collaborative law, the client is out front and doing all the negotiation. They have the support of the attorney, and the attorney has educated them, and they know what they’re negotiating. But it basically is a very different process and the client has a lot more control of the final outcome.