Our sense is attorneys have to believe the Collaborative Process is a good choice, before clients show interest, and many family law attorneys are not convinced the benefits of the “disqualification clause” outweigh the cost, that you’ll need to find new counsel if the case falls out.
The benefits, in our minds, are the clause provides a safe envelope within which the parties can negotiate, as saber rattling and threats are not allowed, and litigation planning does not play a role (i.e., nobody’s holding their cards). We’d also note we see at least as many litigation cases where 1 of the parties switches attorneys mid-stream, as we see collaborative cases fall out.
During our consultations, we outline process options: “kitchen table,” traditional negotiations, mediation, collaborative, and litigation, explaining the goal with all of these options, except litigation, is settlement. With collaborative, we tend to emphasize the safe envelope concept, and that all professionals involved are inside the process, working to get the parties to a settlement.
At Kales & Kales, our biggest obstacle in landing more collaborative cases, is the dearth of trained collaboratively trained lawyers and collaboratively trained lawyers who, for lack of better of way of putting it, are just not that into collaborative. Most people who hire us have some interest in collaborative, but their spouses often do not hire attorneys who are trained and enthusiastic about going this route.