Several weeks ago, I spent three days in Las Vegas at the annual conference of the Global Collaborative Law Council (“GCLC”). There I met Stuart Webb, the founder of collaborative law, as well as Sherrie Abney and Larry Maxwell, two of the first movers in the application of collaborative practice to civil disputes. Merely sitting in the same room with these extraordinary lawyers served as new motivation for the rest of us at the GCLC conference.

But here I want to share something that for must of you may be old news.

Glenn Meier, our unofficial host, a Las Vegas business lawyer and member of GCLC, made presentations on Conscious Contracts as well as David Emerald’s The Power of TED (The Empowerment Dynamic). I appreciated the Conscious Contracts presentation, but the hour or so Glenn devoted to The Power of TED impressed me so much I went home and ordered the book.

The Empowerment Dynamic explains that many if not most of us become trapped in what Emerald calls the Drama Triangle, where we play the role of Victim, Persecutor, or Rescuer, and how we can escape to a higher plane where we can be part of the Empowerment Dynamic, with its powerful roles of Creator, Challenger, and Coach. Emerald’s ideas can drive life-changing insights into how we interact with the other people in our lives.

But for now, I want to describe something else in Emerald’s message, an idea so important to The Power of TED that it is referenced on ten per cent of the book’s pages: Baby Steps. Emerald asserts that “[i]t is the Baby Steps you take, the everyday things you do, that eventually lead to” your desired outcome.

Baby Steps. We collaborative lawyers know what we want: a world in which people and businesses with the need to maintain their relationships will always turn first to the collaborative model when the inevitable conflicts arise.

But we all know it’s taking us a long time get to that place. In the interim, what can we do to move the world of conflict resolution toward the collaborative model?

Yes. Baby steps. We can all try to take some action to promote collaborative practice near us every day. GCLC international meetings are great for sharing ideas, building enthusiasm, creating new and enhancing old relationships. But only local action will spread the word about collaborative practice where it really matters — at home.

We can speak to local bar groups. We can speak to civic and church groups. We can inquire about offering webinars through state and local bar associations. We can join the local chamber of commerce and describe what we do at its meetings or arrange to speak to a group of its members. We can write Facebook and LinkedIn posts and write and reply to
Twitter posts. We can start blogs on our law firms’ websites. We can share our enthusiasm for collaborative law with clients and potential clients.

We can call or email our contacts among in-house counsel, CEOs, and newly-trained collaborative lawyers. As Sherrie Abney said during one of her presentations in Las Vegas, “You’ve got to stay after ‘em.”

Baby Steps and staying after ‘em. That’s how we reach our desired outcome. That is how we establish collaborate law as the new paradigm of dispute resolution.

Steven Gregory
Birmingham, Alabama