The Collaborative Law model requires special skills and behaviors on the part of the attorney, in order to facilitate cooperative resolution. The Collaborative attorney must advise his or her respective client of the application of law to the parties’ particular circumstances and set the stage for a successful outcome, by exhibiting commitment to honesty, dignified behavior, and mutual respect between all involved.
The good collaborative attorney models for the client the ability to hear and understand (to actively listen what is important to the opposing party, so that the interests of both parties are identified and promoted. This requires the attorney to represent the client’s interest while validating the other party’s concerns.
The collaborative attorney guides the client through the process of cooperative conflict, in which disagreement between the parties is used for the productive purpose of finding creative solutions and, ultimately, cooperative settlement. A good collaborative attorney strives to bring stability and reason to emotionally charged situations. The attorney uses clear, neutral language in speaking and writing, and acts as agent of reality for unreasonable clients.
The collaborative law process requires attorney cooperate in providing all necessary document disclosure and discovery and cooperation in setting reasonable deadlines for completion of assignments and tasks. The attorneys must commit to the settlement process and refrain from threats of litigation.
The collaborative attorney recommends creative alternatives to assist parties in reaching agreement and overcoming impasses. Such creative alternatives might include: use of neutral experts, use of mediation, use of a neutral attorney to provide the parties with another opinion, and/or use of private judging. He or she refrains from preparing or filing any documents with the court, except by mutual agreement by all concerned.