Monday, June 2, 2008

5 Tips for Choosing the Right Collaborative Law Attorney

I and others have written about how to find a lawyer for a litigated family law case. There are many good suggestions in that context that could also apply in a Collaborative case. There are some different considerations and qualifications relating to Collaborative Law. Here are 5 tips to help you locate a quality Collaborative Lawyer in Tarrant County, TX.

  • Make sure the attorney is qualified and experienced in Collaborative Law. Find out if the attorney is a board-certified specialist in family law. Look at the attorney's web site and any directories he/she may be on. You can also check the State Bar of Texas web site for information about an attorney, but an even better source is the web site of the Collaborative Law Institute of Texas. Most experienced Collaborative attorneys are members of the organization and there is a long page of background information about most members on the web site. You can call and ask about the types and number of Collaborative cases the attorney has handled, or you ask questions in person, when you meet with the attorney.

  • On a related subject, make sure the attorney has had plenty of training in Collaborative Law. It is so different from litigation that attorneys must be re-programmed so they can act appropriately and manage meetings. Attorneys do well if they have some training each year and have had some recently. All attorneys should have had at least one 2-day basic course in Collaborative Law. When meeting with a prospective attorney, feel free to ask about the attorney's training.

  • You want the attorney to be comfortable and competent in working with financial and mental health professionals. My experience has been that bringing in the two other professionals increases the probability of success and makes the process work better for the parties.

  • The attorney should be active in his/her field. There are several groups that can be joined, such as local practice groups, CLI-Texas (the statewide organization) and IACP, an international organization of Collaborators.

  • Last, but certainly not least, you should decide (after personally meeting with the prospective attorney) whether the chemistry between the attorney and you seems good. You will be having a number of joint meetings and even more short meetings with just your attorney. Make sure that the relationship seems right. Go with your gut feeling.

The way to find a good Collaborative Lawyer for yourself is to mix some common sense, follow general advice about hiring an attorney (get referrals, check similar experience, etc.) and then look for the specialized qualifications that outlined above. Good luck!

1 comment:

Rechtsanwalt said...

Thanks for the Tips.