Collaborative law is the newest method of alternative dispute resolution. This approach can be used for any legal dispute, but has gained a lot of traction in family law and divorce. It is a manner of practicing law in which the attorneys for both parties act in the counsellor rather than attorney role by assisting the clients to resolve disputes with cooperative methods instead of adversarial strategies and litigation. Both attorneys and parties involved dedicate themselves to achieving a full and final negotiated outcome. It is agreed that no litigation will be commenced during the negotiations.
The parties and their lawyers enter into a “Participation Agreement” where it is agreed that if a settlement is not reached, the lawyers will withdraw from the process and not participate in the ensuing litigation. It is understood by all involved that the attorneys’ role is strictly limited to settlement negotiations.
The most important element of the collaborative approach is that the lawyers commit to manage the conflict, emotional issues, and relationship issues creatively.
Jennifer M. Harvey has represented numerous clients using the collaborative process and likes to be a part of the transformative process where legal and practical disputes are resolved, clear and healthy boundaries are drawn and honored, and relationships are preserved.