No one wants to fight their family in Court when they can settle with collaborative or cooperative law.




Most Cooperative Law Lawyers are also Collaborative Law Lawyers. The reason for the two different dispute resolution models is that there are times when one or more of the parties or their lawyers will not agree to the withdrawal provision in the collaborative participation agreement. When this happens, the parties may want to consider Cooperative Law.

Cooperative Law is similar to Collaborative Law with one important exception: cooperative lawyers are not required to withdraw from representing their clients if the parties fail to settle. Collaborative Lawyers cannot go to court; Cooperative Lawyers can.


Today many collaborative lawyers have limited their practices to settlement only. This means that these lawyers will withdraw from any case that goes to litigation regardless of the dispute resolution process the parties choose. These lawyers are settlement specialists and prefer to refer clients who do not settle to attorneys who are in the courtroom on a regular basis. However, there are many very competent and successful lawyers who practice both collaborative law and litigation.

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The cooperative process allows parties to assemble information and documents and then come together to examine and discuss relevant matters in a private, informal setting.  This provides parties an accurate view of the dispute and of each others' interests as well as providing an opportunity to freely discuss possible options for resolution.



The parties are not required to get new lawyers to go to court if they donít settle.


The cooperative lawyers are already familiar with their cases, so this should cut down the time needed to prepare if the disputes go to trial.


The parties may feel more comfortable knowing they donít have to get new attorneys.



If parties are not required to hire new lawyers, they may not hesitate to opt out of the settlement process when discussions are not going their way.


When the parties know that the other parties' lawyers in the settlement conferences could be the lawyers cross-examining them at trial, they may not feel as free to discuss the details of the case as they would if they knew that these lawyers were disqualified from going to court.


When lawyers stay on cases that donít settle, they also stay on their clientsí payrolls which might cause clients to questions whether or not the lawyers really worked hard enough to help them settle.


The lawyersí focus is divided between settling and winning since they know they might go to court.


Lawyers are taught to be adversarial in law school and many disputes are resolved in an adversarial manner. Some lawyers need an incentive to behave less adversely.