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August 12, 2010

Why I Practice Collaborative Law

On August 11, 2010, I was a presenter at a CLE entitled "Why Would An Attorney Want to Practice Collaborative Law?", which was presented by the New York Association of Collaborative Professionals and sponsored by Moses & Singer, LLP. The matrimonial litigators in attendance asked many good questions about the process itself and about the kinds of cases that are handled collaboratively. After the program ended, I continued to think about all the reasons that I personally choose to practice collaborative law and keep my clients and their families out of court whenever possible. There are many articles and blog posts touting the benefits to clients, but not necessarily the benefits that the attorneys receive. So I thought I'd share a few of mine:

1. I'm Helping My Clients Move Forward With Their Lives - Divorce is never easy. The emotions that come up and financial decisions that need to be resolved are difficult. But by removing the time, stress and expense of preparing a case for trial, I can better help my clients create a better future rather than rehash the past.

2. I'm Involved In Good Faith Negotiations Rather Than Game Playing - Collaborative negotiations are taking place in good faith and I can trust that my collaborative colleague and I have the same goal - to find a solution that works for everyone. Win/Lose is not acceptable. Any agreement we reach must be a Win/Win.

3. I Can Be More Creative - By staying out of court, my collaborative colleague and I are better able to help our clients creatively structure an agreement that meets both parties' particular interests and goals.

4. I Have Better Relationships With My Clients - My collaborative clients know that I'm working to help them meet their and their spouse's interests and goals and they see that their spouse's attorney is doing the same thing. This team approach is more satisfying than an "us versus them" approach. And this satisfaction translates to more positive attorney/client relationship.