Thursday, February 3, 2011

How to Be Successful in Collaborative Law Cases

I just ran across an interesting post about keeping a job once you are hired. On the surface, it provides some good, relevant advice for some people going through a divorce at the same time they are starting, restarting or changing careers. Below the surface, the suggestions made by the authors also provide helpful advice on how to hold onto, and even advance, in jobs. The highlights of the article are the "key lessons" that should be followed. You can see how the key lessons also apply to Collaborative cases. Here are the keys, followed by my comments:

1. Follow the Rules. In Collaborative Law cases, we operate under special rules. We share information freely. We operate with transparency. We communicate respectfully with each other. There are many rules laid out in the Participation Agreement that we review and sign before we get started. We also follow a roadmap to resolution, or a step-by-step process that leads us to agreement. We also often lay out rules of conduct to help everyone remember to behave at the their highest level. As long as we follow the rules, the process can work.

2. Be Honest. There is no room in Collaborative Law for dishonesty or deception. There are plenty of checks built into the system, but dishonesty will cause the process to terminate. If you don't want to be completely honest, or you are sure your spouse won't be honest, you shouldn't try Collaborative Law.

3. Own up to Your Mistakes. Everyone has made mistakes and we all understand that. Instead of arguing about blame, it is much easier and better to accept responsibility for any mistakes you have made in the past. And don't waste everyone's time trying to equalize the blame by proving your spouse also made a bunch of mistakes. Keep in mind that we don't spend a lot of time delving into the past. We focus on the future, so a lot of past mistakes are actually irrelevant. We'll look into issues that are relevant, but not into just everything. The point is, admit your mistakes and we can move on. That applies to both parties.

4. Demonstrate Leadership Tendencies. Volunteer to gather information or investigate some new options that have been developed. Be able to work with others and be responsible for portions of the work that must be done. Collaborative Law is not just a process where you can sit back and wait for everything to be done for you by the attorneys. You need to be actively engaged.

5. Be Nice. As important as this is in a job environment, it is equally important when you are analyzing situations and creating solutions for sensitive and important family issues. Being nice is a big part of the participation agreement and the rules of conduct that everyone readily agrees to at the beginning of the process. Please remember to "Be Nice" when the going gets a little tougher as you move closer to conclusion and difficult commitments need to be made. You can discuss nicely, disagree nicely and compromise nicely. There will certainly be difficult times ahead, but you will do better in the long run by resisting anger and being nice. Your attorney and the neutral communication specialist can help.

In case you are in a new job or want to improve your employment situation, you might look at the post in its original form about jobs. It has some helpful reminders that could help anyone, even if you are just looking to keep your current job.


Brian Galbraith said...

Well said as usual.

DC Attorney Jobs said...

Excellent post, I wish I’d have found your blog earlier!