1. Choose someone who is collaboratively trained. Beware of the attorneys who say they are “collaborative” or “cooperative” or “willing to reach settlement.” Make sure the attorney you choose has formal collaborative training. Formal collaborative training gives attorneys knowledge of the collaborative process, teaches them to be creative problem solvers, and hones their skills dealing with other professionals engaged in the process, as well as engaging with opposing parties and counsel in a respectful and effective manner.
2. Be willing to accept recommendations from your spouse’s attorney. If your spouse has already consulted with and chosen a collaborative attorney, often times your spouse’s attorney can be a great resource for you when selecting your own attorney. Collaborative lawyers often keep lists of other collaboratively trained attorneys with whom they work well. Do not look upon suggestions suspiciously. In a collaborative context, it is always better if the opposing attorneys get along on a personal and professional level.
3. The internet is full of information. Both the Collaborative Professionals of Northern Virginia and the Virginia Collaborative Professionals maintain websites with attorney listings, which include biographical and professional information. Attorneys listed in these databases are formally trained and are part of these respective organizations.