A Brief Introduction to Collaborative Law

The field of law has developed a polarizing reputation over the years. When people think about a lawyer’s work, they imagine dramatic courtroom scenes, tense arguments, and high-risk negotiations. Practitioners of collaborative law are working to change that and provide more relationship-focused solutions to disputes. Collaborative law essentially represents an entire paradigm shift in the legal field.

Traits of Collaborative Law

Litigation relies on aggressive representation, thorough discovery, and weakening of the other side’s case. On the flip side, collaborative law approaches problems with the idea that both sides want a fair resolution. Everyone works together to find that resolution. The traits of collaborative law include:

  •   A process focused on the client’s needs and direction; the clients are the guiding force, not the attorneys
  •   Honest negotiation and full disclosure
  •   Confidentiality
  •   Neutral experts who provide relevant information
  •   Attorney withdrawal if an impasse is reached 

Benefits of Collaborative Practice

There are many advantages of collaborative practice that are not available with conventional litigation. When clients choose collaborative law, they know that their counsel is acting in their best interest and isn’t exacerbating conflict for the benefit of their bottom line. Clients maintain control over the process and enjoy less hostility and conflict than in traditional litigious procedures. The process is confidential, so there are no public records of the agreements created by the involved parties.

Situations Where Collaborative Practice May Not Be Advisable

While collaborative law offers numerous benefits to clients, there are situations in which it isn’t an effective solution. If one party is unable to act in good faith, the process is unlikely to yield any type of resolution. If a relationship is so adversarial that the parties cannot engage with each other in face-to-face meetings, collaborative law is not a viable option.

Areas of Law Where Collaborative Practice is Available

Collaborative law is primarily utilized in divorce negotiations and other areas of family law. However, it is also an effective option in employment disputes, mergers and acquisitions, and other areas of law.

The Role of the Collaborative Lawyer

Collaborative law attorneys play a significantly different role than they do in litigation. They are there to:

  •   Educate and counsel their client on their options
  •   Limit conflict and keep the lines of communication open
  •   Guide clients through negotiation, keeping the clients’ goals and priorities in mind
  •   Help in the creation and implementation of agreements

Collaborative law helps parties get the results they want without sacrificing relationships or engaging in adversarial disputes. If you think collaborative law may be a viable option for you, contact Goodwin Law & Mediation at 919-798-4468 to schedule your consultation.

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Goodwin Law & Mediation

At Goodwin Law & Mediation, we strive to fill an important niche in North Carolina legal services. Attorney Raymond Goodwin has a significant body of legal experience and a wealth of knowledge that he brings to the table to develop personalized solutions for a range of legal issues.

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