Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Where to Find a Collaborative Lawyer

It is a good idea for the two of you to work together at selecting lawyers to carry you through the collaborative process. You both want to hire lawyers who have a proven demonstrated history of being able to successfully work together to bring parties to resolution through the collaborative process. Not all lawyers can work collaboratively. Lawyers are traditionally trained to work in opposition with each other, trained to think in the eventual possibility that a judge will determine who wins. Traditional lawyers do not think in terms of resolution because they are trained to think in terms of winning and losing, right and wrong. In the collaborative process everyone is a winner and there are no losers. If you use the collaborative process, you want to avoid hiring lawyers who have no experience working together in this new collaborative way, or worse yet, two lawyers who don't even know each other! In the old school way of doing things, one of you would go talk to a lawyer, that lawyer would promptly write a nasty letter or start a lawsuit or both, which in turn would prompt the other of you to engage what you hoped was an even nastier lawyer. The unspoken goal, traditionally, was to hire two sharpshooters for a shootout in court, with only one expected to be left standing in the end, in an attempt to prove who is right. When you are proceeding in the collaborative way, you want to avoid hiring lawyers who predominantly have honed their skills in the court room battlefield. But where do you find two experienced collaborative lawyers who have worked together for opposing parties? The answer is in a Collaborative Law Practice Group. A Collaborative Practice Group is a group of lawyers, coaches, child specialists and financial planners who have formed a group in their local community for the purpose of working together collaboratively. Members of a collaborative practice group regularly get together to practice their collaborative skills and to take further practice trainings together. The members of the Collaborative Practice Group of the Kootenays are all also Members of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals (IACP). There are Collaborative Law Practice Groups now in every major centre in North America, and in 14 countries worldwide. You can link to any of these worldwide practice groups and you can find a collaborative lawyer from the IACP website. (www.collaborativepractice.com)