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What is Collaborative Practice?

Information for Client About What Happens at First & Subsequent Four-Way Meetings

  1. Introduction of clients and lawyers.

  2. Review the Collaborative Practice Contract and Expectations of Clients and Professionals in detail with both clients and both lawyers.
  1. Give reasons why you are choosing the Collaborative Practice Process. The lawyers will write these reasons down on the flipchart for the minutes of the meeting.

  2. Participate in discussion about reasons why Collaborative Practice Process files may fail:
    • lawyers don't spend enough time educating clients about and preparing them for the Collaborative Practice Process;
    • lawyers and clients fail to follow Expectations of Clients and Professionals in direct communications with each other in four-way meetings;
    • clients fail to follow Expectations of Clients and Professionals in direct communications with each other outside four-way meetings;
    • clients fail to stick to temporary agreements they make in Collaborative Practice Process;
    • clients fail to do homework they have agreed to do in four-way meeting;
    • clients take one-sided actions during Collaborative Practice Process.

  3. Understand your lawyer's job description in the Collaborative Practice Process
    • Conversation Coach - to help you communicate effectively
    • Collaborative Practice Process Guide - to keep the process focused on both clients
    • Legal Advisor - your lawyer will give you information about the law generally and how law might apply specifically to you after all the information is gathered and you and the other client have developed the maximum number of options
    • Problem solver
    • Settlement counsel
    • Peacemaker

  4. Your Collaborative Practice Professional is not your champion, hired gun, or gladiator. Your Collaborative Professional will not "fight" for you. Both clients and both lawyers agree not to fight and to negotiate cooperatively. The Collaborative Professionals will help you and the other client follow the Collaborative Practice Process and avoid fighting.

  5. Identify and discuss any further expectations of both clients and lawyers.

  6. Express your individual commitment to Collaborative Practice Process.

  7. Sign the Collaborative Practice Contract.

  8. Identify what is important to you in this separation/divorce transition; what matters to you, what you need.
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