The idea of Collaborative Law started approximately 25 years in Minnesota where a family lawyer by the name of Stu Webb was tired of the sadistic nature of the courthouse, and the attitude and culture it bred. Even more so, he was tired of being instrumental in the destruction of individuals and families as a whole. Stu wondered if there was some other way to practice law that would not take such a physical and emotional toll on the attorneys, and could possibly do some good for the clients – allowing them to move forward in a more productive and healthy way and giving them the tools to resolve conflicts on their own, to avoid future litigation. Stu awoke one morning with an idea, called a handful of colleagues and asked if they would be willing to try his idea to bring dignity back to the process and focus on resolution rather than the destruction of relationships and people. At that point Collaborative Law was born.
Collaborative Law is a highly structured process in which the clients, attorneys, and other neutral professionals dedicate themselves to resolving disputes between parties in a healthy, efficient, and productive manner rather than fighting a costly, litigious battle in the court system. The parties contractually agree not to litigate while in the process by signing the Collaborative Law Participation Agreement. If one client chooses to opt out of the Collaborative process, the Collaborative attorneys must withdraw and the clients must start over with new attorneys. This provides incentive to the attorneys and the clients to work towards an agreement and to find creative ways to resolve the conflict.
In the Collaborative process, the clients are given a voice and empowered to use that voice to express their genuine concerns and goals, to control the process of resolving the dispute, and to develop a tailor-made solution that works best for their family and their situation.
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