Why use the collaborative process?

The collaborative process is not for everyone. The participants must be willing to work honestly and in good faith to arrive at a fair resolution without court involvement or intervention. The process offers a structured, non-adversarial alternative which enables the settlement of a dispute in a private and confidential environment.

What happens when someone tries to use the process to take advantage of another party?

The opportunities for discovering dishonesty in the collaborative process are greater than in the normal litigated case. Face to face meetings used in the process allow the parties and their attorneys to monitor the other parties at close range. In addition, the contractual agreement signed by all parties and their attorneys requires an attorney to withdraw if his/her client acts dishonestly or misuses the process.

What happens if a party decides he or she does not want to continue in the process or the parties cannot reach an agreement?

Any party may end the process at any time with or without stating a reason. The collaborative attorneys may suggest alternatives to termination of the process, but if one party does not agree, all collaborative lawyers withdraw from the case, and the parties proceed to court with new counsel.

How does the cost of collaboration compare to litigation?

If a case does not settle during the collaborative process, collaboration could cost more. However, the cases which do settle should result in a savings for the parties due to the elimination of the most costly aspects of litigation which include depositions, court hearings, multiple expert witnesses, trial briefs and discovery battles.

What is the difference between mediation and collaboration?

Mediation employs a “neutral” professional who attempts to facilitate settlement between the parties after the parties have already engaged in all of the normal activities and expenses of litigation and are prepared to go to trial. By this time the parties are generally entrenched in their respective positions and less open to options of settlement. Mind sets are focused on “winning” and “losing” rather than positive results.