It is crucial to choose a lawyer experienced and trained in the collaborative process for the collaborative case to be successful. Many lawyers are great lawyers in litigated cases. Many are great negotiators. If your lawyer has not been trained in how to work with the neutral professionals in the statutorily protected process of collaborative law, however, then the process will likely fail.
There are nuances of the collaborative divorce process that properly trained and experienced attorneys will pick up on and, even as opposing counsel, will be able to dovetail their posture and advice to their clients to further the process, rather than defeat it. Here’s an example: Your spouse comes home telling you that he met with a divorce lawyer who recommended and discussed the collaborative method with him. You seek counsel from a reputable divorce lawyer in your area who is a great lawyer in the courtroom, but he has never participated in any specific collaborative training. He knows about it, and he thinks he understands how it works, so there should be no problem. Right??? Wrong!!!
Most courtroom attorneys like the courtroom-that’s where they feel comfortable. They like arguing before the Court.
But it’s rare to meet that staunch litigator who can demonstrate the necessary restraint in the collaborative process without the training and full understanding of the paradigm shift from litigator to collaborator. Now, I have seen fantastic courtroom lawyers become immersed in the collaborative process who do a marvelous job, but only after seriously studying the dynamics involved and practicing those tactics in role play, as well as real cases.
So just ask the right questions when you first meet with your attorney. Do you have collaborative training? Do you have collaborative experience?