I thought I was so smart, discovering a new way to apply the collaborative dispute resolution process… to what I call Stressful Life Events. Using my collaborative skills to solve the problems that otherwise might lead to divorce. Turns out that others have been doing the same thing… in other areas of collaborative practice!

I spent last weekend in Lincoln, Nebraska, attending my most rewarding collaborative law conference in many moons and presenting on Collaborative Life Planning. In fact, it was so insightful that the Global Law Collaborative Council (GCLC) is discussing a return to Lincoln next year. You should join us!

The practice of collaborative commercial law is not very different from that of collaborative family law. As in the divorce arena, business law practitioners deal with human emotions and frailties, with individuals’ goals and interests, with conflicting positions and disparate points of view. Oh, and with money issues.
And sometimes, instead of dealing with just two clients, they must negotiate with multiple clients in the same matter!

The Lincoln trainings were brilliantly illuminating. A panel of industry leaders offered their perspectives on what businesses need to resolve their conflicts well. Their dialogue with the audience explored the types of conflicts their own businesses experience, such as employment issues, vendor disputes, and conflicts with purchasers. Examples from the Pandemic Era brought these issues home.

We also explored how our collaborative skills would better benefit the companies involved, enlightening not just the audience but the speakers, as well.
But it wasn’t all about how to resolve the relationship after it’s already fractured by conflict. We studied the use of relational contracts, instead of traditional agreements, in complex strategic affiliations in which the parties are highly dependent on each other, when flexibility and trust are essential for success. Such an approach boosts collaboration and trust in such strategic business interactions.

Marc Sheridan, also a highly respected member of IACP (International Academy of Collaborative Professionals), despite that he doesn’t practice “family law,” presented on the use of collaborative skills in conflicts involving family-held enterprises and family offices, private wealth management advisory firms that serve ultra-high-net-worth individuals.

As the Marketing Maven, by the conclusion of his sixty minutes, I was already researching how to join AFHE (Attorneys for Family-Held Enterprises) and FFI (Family Firm Institute). Hey, rich people get divorced, too!
There were more valuable presentations. I leave it to others to offer their own takeaways. You can learn more about this conference, as well as GCLC’s future offerings, at Global Collaborative Law Council. The best part of this weekend was that nothing was boring… and there were no difficult choices to make. There was only one presentation offered at any given time.

As an aside, this was likely the least expensive conference I’ve attended since the early ‘90’s!
As a member of IACP which focuses on family law, I am thrilled to be part of a group that is bringing Collaborative Practice to other areas of law. Commercial collaborative practices offer family practitioners multiple alternative lenses through which to examine our own practices. This weekend was a perfect example of learning from unrelated disciplines how we might expand, and improve, our own approaches to family restructurings and conflicts.