Collaborative Law: A Sensible Approach To Resolving Disputes

Collaborative law involves negotiations focusing on the parties' interests rather than competing and divergent positions. In collaborative practice, each side retains a collaborative attorney trained in interest-based negotiation and mediation. Unlike a mediator, each lawyer is a counselor at law for their respective client, responsible for helping the client identify and advance their own interests and develop options that work for both parties.

Collaborative practice focuses on settlement from the outset, negotiating an agreement on all issues and resolving the dispute without litigation. Collaborative practice is private, cost-efficient and client-centered. There is no judge or jury.

How It Works

The process begins with the parties and their respective collaborative attorneys meeting together, commonly referred to as a "four-way" meeting. At that meeting, a participation agreement, or contract to settle, is memorialized and signed by the parties.

The parties agree that if the process does not result in a settlement, both attorneys must withdraw as counsel. This serves as a motivating factor to stay in the process. In addition, because this process is client-centered, jointly-retained neutral professionals (e.g., economists, forensic accountants and business consultants), also trained in the collaborative methodology, are frequently used by the parties to assist in reaching a resolution. The parties are free to terminate the process and litigate, but they are also free to negotiate in good faith and achieve the best resolution possible without someone else deciding their fate.

Start Working Toward A Solution Today

At Markus & Sheridan, LLP, we welcome the opportunity to explain more about the collaborative law process and help you determine if it is right for your legal issue. Call us or use our online contact form to schedule a meeting.