- determine, identify and investigate the issues of the case;
- advise the client of their belief about the law that applies in the particular circumstances, which may or may not favor their client; and
- inform the client on how they believe the court might rule.
In the Collaborative Process, the Collaborative Lawyer goes beyond these expected duties and responsibilities. The lawyer’s role is to help the client begin to understand that the lawyer’s role is not “answer giver” but rather “information provider” and “negotiation guide.” The lawyer is not there to posture or offer extreme positions.
The lawyer and the client are committed to problem solving; not court proceedings. This commitment will require the lawyer, along with the Collaborative Team, to help the client:
- identify and understand their interests and goals as well as those of the other party;
- develop creative solutions to difficult issues;
- work together with the Collaborative Team to determine the impact of possible solutions on the parties individually as well as the family;
- articulate a point of view in a way that considers the client’s point of view and goals in the context of what is also good for the overall family; and
- develop communication patterns that are productive to reaching a settlement. With the guidance of the Collaborative Lawyer, the client will have the opportunity to reach a legally binding out-of court settlement in a cooperative environment, minimizing the financial and emotional costs and the unpredictable outcomes of litigation.
Contact a Collaborative Lawyer with the Collaborative Law Professionals of Southeastern Pennsylvania to help you decide if Collaborative Practice is the right choice for you and your family.
 Adapted from Negotiation and the Attorney in the Collaborative Process by Sherri Goren Slovin JD, Cincinnati Ohio; The Collaborative Review, Vol 6, Issue 2, Summer 2004.