In a series of videos for Cutting Edge Law taped in 2008, leading collaborative lawyer Catherine Conner discusses creating, building, and structuring a collaborative practice group. Catherine Conner is one of the founders and a former president of the Collaborative Council of the Redwood Empire, a collaborative practice group out of California, and Catherine would go on to become president of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals.
A collaborative practice group is a network of independent professionals dedicated to helping people resolve disputes outside of court via the collaborative process. The collaborative process is a form of alternative dispute resolution where each party has an attorney, and the parties sign a written agreement that says that their attorneys will only be focused on resolving their dispute privately; the attorneys cannot be used by the parties to fight in court against one another.
Some collaborative practice groups only have attorneys as members, while other practice group are interdisciplinary and also include mental health professionals and financial professionals. Some practice groups promote the use of the collaborative process in all sorts of civil matters such as employment law, contract disputes, business dissolution, medical malpractice, or other matters, while other practice groups focus on one area of the law, such as family law.
You can find Catherine’s video on structuring a collaborative practice group after the jump:
In Tampa Bay, we have several collaborative practice groups. The largest group (which also happens to be one of the largest collaborative practice groups in the U.S.) is Next Generation Divorce, which is an interdisciplinary practice group focused on collaborative divorce and family law. Next Generation Divorce has attorneys, mental health professionals, and financial professionals covering Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Sarasota, and Manatee Counties. The 150+ independent professionals of Next Generation Divorce are dedicated to helping families through difficult times in a private, respectful, and efficient manner.
Adam B. Cordover is the Immediate Past President of Next Generation Divorce and now practices exclusively in out-of-court dispute resolution. Adam is co-author with Forrest (Woody) Mosten of an upcoming American Bar Association publication on building a collaborative practice.