Collaborative Practice is a term encompassing several dispute resolution models, including those involving interdisciplinary teams of professionals trained to work together with the clients in resolving disputes respectfully without going to court. Each client in a Collaborative Practice case has the support and guidance of his or her own lawyer, as well as access to additional professionals who can provide support in their areas of training.
While Collaborative lawyers are always a part of a collaborative legal process, in Civil Collaborative Practice communication coaches, financial consultants, mediators and other professionals are retained to provide the clients with the highest quality service possible. The Collaborative Professionals team works together using strategies and techniques geared toward dispute resolution, with an effort to avoid adversarial proceedings including litigation in court.
Once Collaborative trained lawyers are retained to work for clients in the Collaborative process, the Collaborative lawyers will not represent the parties if the dispute ends up going through litigation. If either client decides to litigate the issues, all of the members of the professional team including lawyers, financial consultants and communication coaches must withdraw.
The same alternate dispute resolution principles that have preserved the integrity and dignity of families in conflict can also bring relief to those in disputes in many areas of civil and commercial law.