About Collaborative Law

Collaborative law is a method of settling disputes in a respectful, rational manner.

It is based on a set of principles that significantly changes the dynamics between clients from adversarial to collaborative. The process is client-centered and client-driven, requiring attorneys (and clients) to make critical and essential shifts in thinking and control.

Central to collaborative law is that clients and attorneys agree to use a negotiation structure that requires they will not use or threaten to use litigation and will engage in an open exchange of relevant information.

Central collaborative law principles include:

  • A promise to reach a resolution without court intervention or threatening court intervention.
  • A pledge that if either client seeks court intervention, both attorneys (and their firms) must withdraw from representation.
  • A promise by all participants to negotiate in good faith by remaining open and flexible, disclosing all pertinent information and using constructive and respectful communication methods.
  • An agreement that all communications which occur during the collaborative law process, as well as all documents prepared in connection with the process, are inadmissible in a court proceeding. 

The concept of collaborative law was conceived in 1989 by Stu Webb, a family law attorney in Minneapolis, who realized that court trials in dissolution cases were inflicting greater injury to families than the underlying divorce itself. Since 1989, the practice of collaborative law has developed and grown and is now successfully practiced across the United States, Canada and Europe, not only in family law but in business, commercial, probate and employment law as well.

Collaborative law is a viable way to resolve legal disputes and is an efficient, cost-effective alternative to win-or-lose litigation.