An area of concern for some Collaborative Lawyers is who to refer our clients’ unrepresented spouses to. Some lawyers make a general referrals to the website, while others pick and choose who to refer to, with a very short list, depending upon who they have worked with before, and how smoothly the process went. Most Collaborative Lawyers are beginning to understand that as we gain more and more experience, confidence and trust in your Collaborative co-counsel, is crucial to the success of each case. I refer to other lawyers who, in my estimation, will talk to their clients about the Collaborative Process in the same way that I speak to mine. This is what our workshops and protocols are designed to ensure, but some attorneys are simply better suited to the Collaborative Process than others. Collaborative Law is often more intuitive than the traditional legal techniques that can be picked up in law school practicums and at a continuing legal education programs.
“Good” Collaborative Lawyers have an innate curiosity about the personal problems their clients are experiencing. They put meaning into the words, “paradigm shift”. They ask good questions instead of offering cookie cutter answers. A good listener, with sincere empathy, will gain a client’s trust. Once a client trusts his or her legal advisor, the journey towards a reasonable interest-based settlement can begin. Most divorcing clients have forgotten how to trust. In the Collaborative Process, however, the power paradigm is shifted from lawyer to client; a client who can trust his or her own decision making ability has been empowered to be confident in determining the course of his or her own life. A lawyer who can build trust in his or her client has given the client a tool to be used the rest of the client’s life and insight into what it takes to sustain a family system.