This web site, as well as some others, will allow you to locate Collaborative professionals who practice in your community. Start your search for the right Collaborative Law team for you by reviewing the member profiles. This section offers tips on How to Choose a Collaborative Law Professional.
The following are some factors to consider as you decide which professionals will be right for your situation:
Although there is no guarantee that the more experienced professionals will be the most qualified or the best fit for your case, it is reasonable to assume that a more experienced Collaborative professional will be better prepared to navigate the Collaborative landscape and more practiced at anticipating and avoiding problems than someone who is less experienced.
Education and Training
Collaborative Law uses a completely different model for resolving disputes than those in which most attorneys and other professionals learned in school. Look for professionals who have had basic and/or interdisciplinary courses, as well as ongoing training in Collaborative Law, interest-based negotiation, and the other skills necessary to be an effective Collaborative Law practitioner. Continuing education is a good sign. It shows a professional’s interest in always improving his or her understanding of how best to help you achieve your most important goals.
Those professionals who are active in local, statewide and international Collaborative communities will generally have a higher level of competence than those who are less involved. Community involvement keeps Collaborative professionals up-to-date on new trends, theories and ideas. Promoting Collaborative Law to the public shows that the professional is committed to the Collaborative process and convinced that this dispute-resolution method will produce the best results for clients.
After you have identified those Collaborative professionals who practice in your county and whose profiles appeal to you, call and set up an initial interview. Do not hesitate to see more than one professional so you have adequate information to make an informed decision. There is no substitute for an in-person interview when you are trying to decide an issue as important as who will help guide you through your divorce or other family law matter. Look for professionals who listen to you, who seem to understand your point of view, and who look for creative ways to solve problems. A Collaborative professional who is a good fit for you will help you feel calm and confident that a resolution can be reached that works for everyone concerned.
Ask direct questions about what a professional charges for his or her services and what you can anticipate the total cost to be. If you have limited financial resources, be frank about those, as well. You need to feel confident that you will be able to afford the professional’s services if you retain them to be part of your Collaborative team.