Newest ADR Option Wins Converts, Suffers Growing Pains

Collaborative Counselors, ABA Journal, June,2006 discusses Collaborative law, and notes its greatest growth in the family law context. The most controversial aspect of collaborative practice is that if either party elects to go to court, both attorneys are disqualified. "Ultimately, as one of the parties, I can decide not to settle. I can choose to make my lawyer withdraw, but I can also make the other side lose their lawyer," says Christopher Fairman, associate professor of law at Ohio State University. "If I were an evil person, I could get all sorts of information from my spouse that otherwise would be very difficult to get, and then litigate."
Kentucky Collaborative Family Network, the Louisville collaborative group. believes this component must be in place to insure everyone stays committed to settlement. Sherrie Abney of Carrollton, Texas, says in the article, "When I used to do litigation, I'd say to my client that I would do everything to settle the case, but I would have to always be preparing to go to trial. It's a schizophrenic process. " The author of A Guide to Civil Collaborative Law, Abney adds, "In collaborative practice we are concentrating 100 percent on settling the case.
The Free Lance Star, Fredericksburg, VA published an article on the collaborative divorce model last Friday. It may very well become a client driven process.