Monday, November 15, 2010

How to Choose a Collaborative Lawyer

Unfortunately, Collaborative lawyers are not as common as family law attorneys. Not all family law attorneys are trained in Collaborative Law. Even worse, some attorneys who advertise themselves to be Collaborative lawyers are not fully trained in Collaborative Law.

So, if you want to use a Collaborative Law attorney, how can you find one and how do you find the best one for you? Here are three simple steps you can follow.

1. Check around for a referral. You know that often referrals are the best ways to find professionals or stores or other providers of goods or services. You can have some confidence in hiring someone if s/he has been recommended by someone you know and trust. Good sources for Collaborative attorney referrals would include friends, counselors and attorneys. Hopefully, someone will have had some experience with a Collaborative attorney.

2. Research on the Internet. You need to find someone who is experienced and qualified (trained). It's also good to work with someone in your home county for convenience and to minimize travel expense for you and others. Look at web sites to find out how long each attorney has done Collaborative Law and how much and how recent their training is. (It's really helpful to get some additional training every year to keep the skills up.) You can also research the background of any referred attorneys. In Texas, we have the Collaborative Law Institute of Texas, a statewide organization (, an international group, the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals (, and local groups (there are many local groups, but as an example-- Those web sites and others list trained Collaborative lawyers.

3. Meet with some attorneys in person. Again, focus on experience and training. You can ask whether they have handled similar Collaborative cases and how some issues are often resolved. Keep in mind that most experienced attorneys will charge a consultation fee.

Important: The biggest benefit of meeting with a prospective attorney in person is that you can get a sense of whether there would be good chemistry. Your personality and objectives should be a comfortable match with the attorney's. You don't need identical personalities, but both of you should feel good about working together.

Good luck in your search to find a compatible attorney for your Collaborative case.

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