About the Collaborative Practice
Collaborative Practice is a conflict resolution process in which the participants focus their efforts on reaching a mutually acceptable resolution. Professionals are retained during the Collaborative process for the sole purpose of assisting their clients in attaining this goal.
The client and professionals agree to work respectfully and in good faith to gather all information needed to reach an agreement, including developing the interests of each client. The participants do not engage in expensive legal procedures to obtain information. The clients and their Collaborative attorneys agree from the beginning that they will produce all necessary information and documents voluntarily and in a timely fashion. Hiding documents or unnecessary delays are not permitted. Non-legal professionals are usually retained as joint neutrals and work together with the participants to define the scope of their assignment and to gather information.
The process typically includes various meetings at which the clients and professionals meet together to discuss the issues, make any necessary interim arrangements, and to plan for information gathering (not every professional will be present at every conference.) These conferences continue to be utilized to exchange and clarify information and to brainstorm possible options for resolution. The clients and the professionals focus on educating everyone regarding the underlying information, each client's interests and possible solutions. Out of this process, a settlement which meets the approval of all clients can be fashioned. Negotiations are based upon efforts to find options that will serve the interests of the clients and other affected persons, and if applicable, create the possibility for positive continuing relationships.
The clients and their Collaborative attorneys agree that they will not go to court during the time they are working towards settlement. If the clients are unable to reach an agreement, the Collaborative attorneys and other professionals withdraw and litigation attorneys take the dispute to court.
Collaborative Practice started with one attorney in Minnesota in the late 1980s, and has now spread across the United States, Canada, and internationally. Although it has primarily developed in the field of family law, efforts are now being made to expand Collaborative Practice into other areas of law.
Collaborative Practice Marin (CPM) is a multi-disciplinary, multi-field group open to all professionals interested in Collaborative conflict resolution. The group includes family law attorneys, mental health practitioners, financial experts and other types of experts that may be involved in a Collaborative conflict resolution process. We encourage probate and civil attorneys to join as well. Monthly meetings provide an opportunity to learn more about Collaborative Practice as well as to become better acquainted with other Collaborative professionals. CPM provides additional training and continuing education. Members of CPM are involved in the coordination of public education projects related to Collaborative Practice.