What is Collaborative Practice? Find A Professional Sample Agreement Links
What is Collaborative Practice?

New Roles of Professionals

The different roles lawyers have working in the Collaborative Practice Process compared to the traditional Court system.

Collaborative Practice
  1. Act as Communication Coach
    • Receives each client as a fresh story with an unknown potential outcome
    • Active listening - open-ended questions for clear understanding of what is important to client: history, goals, priorities, fears
    • Views emotions and feelings as important elements of the Collaborative Process that need to be acknowledged and appropriately managed so client functions at best
    • Counsels and challenges client to transform understanding of what is real, what is possible and what is useful - letting go of attachment to positions
    • Aims to foster client taking personal responsibility for own life
    • Sees client's low self-esteem as possible cause of conflict and possibility of change
    • Understands difference between aggression and assertion
    • Encourages compassion and enlightened self-interest
    • Candor, within bounds of lawyer-client privilege
    • Attaches importance to ongoing trust relationship between lawyers

  1. Give Legal Advice
    • The law is for lawyers
    • Tells client what the game plan is
    • Focus on legal analysis: fact, law, cases
    • Limited time for client; emphasis on getting the legal work done
    • Asks closed questions of client for efficient retrieval of essential elements of the case
    • Categorizes client by problems presented
    • Clients come to lawyers to shift responsibility for resolving conflict from client to lawyer. Professionals may support client's shifting of responsibility for actions towards others
    • Lawyer's fault if case is going poorly. "Leave everything to me"
    • May foster unrealistic goals
    • Unequal power-based relationship
    • Views emotions and feelings as distractions from the "real work"
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