Civil FAQs

Civil Collaborative Practice applies the same collaborative strategies used in Collaborative Practice family law matters such as divorce as an alternative to the traditional adversarial techniques to resolve legal disputes.

The use of the Collaborative Process remains more common in family law matters, but use of the Collaborative Process in civil practice is gaining momentum due to its many advantages.

Learn more about Civil Collaborative Practice and how it can help you successfully resolve disputes without expensive, time-consuming litigation from our Frequently Asked Questions list.


Civil FAQs

What is Civil Collaborative Practice?

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.

How does a Civil Collaborative case work?

A typical Collaborative case consists of two clients. Each client selects an independent Collaborative attorney, working in a team approach who may also be supported by other trained professionals.  The goal is a successful mutual resolution all of the issues.

Both parties and their attorneys enter into a formal agreement that under no circumstances will they go to court. Everyone agrees they will settle the case using the Collaborative process. If you cannot reach a settlement, or if one of you chooses to withdraw and seek court intervention, both of you must hire new attorneys. This insures that the Collaborative attorneys are truly focusing on settlement rather than being distracted by thoughts of litigation strategies or positioning. The process requires a significant shift in thinking for the attorney, for you and for the other party involved.

New roles are based on you as clients controlling the outcome, voluntary and good faith exchange of all relevant information and refraining from making threats of litigation. It also means you must accept an important responsibility to participate and negotiate in good faith.

What kinds of civil disputes are appropriate for Collaborative Practice?

In theory, any matter that can be litigated is capable of resolution through the Civil Collaborative Practice, such as:

  • Business
  • Commercial
  • Construction
  • Contracts
  • Corporations
  • Elder Law
  • Employment Disputes
  • Estates and Trusts
  • Environmental
  • Franchise
  • Insurance
  • Intellectual Property
  • International Disputes
  • Labor
  • Mergers and Acquisitions
  • Partnerships
  • Personal Injury
  • Probate
  • Professional Malpractice
  • Real Property Transactions
  • Securities/Antitrust
  • Sports and Entertainment
  • Torts
What advantages does Collaborative Practice offer over other process options?

Lower Cost: Collaborative Practice is generally less costly and time-consuming than litigation.

Client Involvement: As a Collaborative client, you play a vital part of the settlement team (consisting of both parties and both attorneys). You have greater involvement in the decision-making and greater control over the outcome affecting your life.

Support From Your Professional Team: You are supported in a manner that allows the attorneys and all other professional members of the team to work cooperatively together with you to resolve issues that might otherwise negatively affect aspects of your life and your relationships, both personal and professional.

Less Stress on You and Your Relationships: The Collaborative approach reduces stress, anxiety and fears about the process and the outcome of setting your dispute when compared to the threat of traditional litigation in court. Everyone can focus on settlement feeling fully informed and involved, with more control over the outcome.

Win-Win Approach: Collaborative Practice takes a positive approach and creates a congenial working environment. The opportunity exists for you and other participants to work as problem-solving partners in a climate that facilitates “win-win” settlements.

Your Disputes Can Be Resolved More Quickly: Collaborative Practice can be much less time-consuming than taking a dispute into court, where your case can quickly be slowed down to an agonizing crawl by lengthy discovery, hearings and clogged court calendars. This can also be a significant way to lessen costs by speeding up the process.

Flexibility to Create a Solution That Fits You: Collaborative Practice encourages creative solutions in resolving issues, including remedies that may not be available in litigation.

Collaborative Practice Puts You In Charge: The non-adversarial nature of Collaborative Practice shifts decision-making to you along with the support of your Collaborative Practice team, instead of putting decisions in the hands of strangers bound by the rules of a courtroom.