Collaborative law is an impressive dispute resolution process that offers significant benefits for disputants in appropriate cases. In CL, lawyers and clients sign a four-way “participation agreement” promising to use an interest-based approach to negotiation and fully disclose all relevant information.
There is a need for a complete review of how we are handling litigation in general and divorce cases in particular. The change that is called for lies in alternative dispute resolution such as mediation, collaborative law, and arbitration.
Among the many objections to Collaborative Law in general and the proposed Uniform Act in particular was the ethical questions raised by the practice of Collaborative Law in Divorce. Several cases have raised ethical warnings to attorneys who so enthusiastically are embracing collaborative law in divorce as the best thing since sliced bread.
Under the model rules of professional conduct, lawyers have a duty to screen potential Collaborative Law (CL) cases for appropriateness and obtain clients’ informed consent to use CL.