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Q: Should I be using a lawyer, a mediator, or both?
A: We can assist you in two different ways: as mediators for both you and your spouse or partner or as lawyers just for you. The roles and ethical duties arising from acting as a lawyer or mediator are quite different.
As mediators we act as a neutral and do not represent or give legal advice to either party even though we are trained as a lawyers and have knowledge of legal issues.
As lawyers we can only act as lawyers for one of you and our duty of loyalty and confidentiality is only to the client that we represent. It is always best to have an attorney assist in the mediation process and to review any documents before they are signed. We offer a free one half hour consultation to prospective clients. If you want to explore the use of us as mediators we prefer to have a brief consultation on the phone so that our knowledge of the facts is minimal before any mediation is scheduled. This helps to insure neutrality. Please us me know how you wish to proceed. Oftentimes, a brief, no charge phone call to us is a good way to start if you are uncertain as to how to proceed. We would also appreciate learning the name of your spouse or partner to make sure there is no conflict in me scheduling a consultation with you should you choose to do so.
Q: What is collaborative law?
A: Collaborative law originated in Minnesota as a way to remove a matter from the adversarial court process to allow the parties to reach a settlement cooperatively. The parties commit to work toward a resolution and each retains their own attorney. If the matter cannot be resolved through the collaborative law process and the case must go to court, the attorneys must withdraw from representation and each party must hire new counsel.
Q: Is the collaborative law approach used in areas besides family law?
A: Yes, in many areas of the country collaborative groups are developing processes to be used in other areas of the law such as business disputes, probate, environmental, personal injury, employment and corporate law.
Many people who find themselves at the brink of a legal problem think twice before entering the fray because they realize how lengthy, expensive and damaging a lawsuit can become. If you are one of those who would rather "switch than fight," consulting with an attorney experienced in Collaborative Law from can help you decide how to proceed.
Collaborative Law - An Overview
Lawsuits can be time-consuming and expensive, and can take an emotional toll on all of those involved. While the formalities of the traditional adversarial process may be necessary to protect the parties' interests in some cases, the parties can save themselves time, money and stress if they are willing to work together in the collaborative law process. If you believe your legal situation can best be resolved through collaborative law, contact The Collaborative Law Group in Ellicott City, Maryland to discuss your matter. An attorney experienced in the collaborative method can review your case and help you determine the best way to seek resolution.
Collaborative Law Practice Areas
While collaborative law is most commonly used to resolve family law issues, the use of the method is expanding into more practice areas - most notably in the areas of employment law, business disputes and probate.
The Development of Collaborative Law
Processes similar to collaborative law have been around a long time. In fact, the processes lawyers use in criminal law, juvenile law and child protective services have their roots in practices that incorporate many of the principles now enshrined in collaborative law.
The Comprehensive Law Movement
Collaborative law is often considered to be one component of the comprehensive law movement. The comprehensive law movement views law from an all-inclusive, holistic perspective. Rather than simply looking at what is going on in this particular case, the comprehensive law view attempts to see beyond the short-term outcome to the long-term effects the case may have on the parties involved.
Collaborative Law Resource Links