On Friday 20 and Saturday 21 February 2015 Interdisciplinary Collaborative Practice training will be conducted at the Mercure Grosvenor Hotel Adelaide. The training will be presented by Bev Clark and Christopher Swan, collaboratively trained lawyers, Rachel Jolly collaboratively trained family child specialist and Garth Craig a collaboratively trained financial specialist. The training team has extensive Collaborative Practice experience with Bev Clark and Christopher Swan having between them conducted more than 50 collaborative matters. The training will be built around the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals (IACP) basic interdisciplinary training curriculum materials and will comply with the IACP standards. The training will meet the IACP requirements to enable professional registrants to hold themselves out as practitioners who satisfy the IACP standards for Collaborative Practice in family related disputes. The training is designed to enable lawyers, financial specialist and mental health specialists to learn basic skills necessary to work in an interdisciplinary Collaborative Process.
Woody Mosten in his guest editor’s introduction to the special Collaborative Practice issue of the Family Court Review volume 49 number 2 April 2011 refers to how we are all aware of the flaws in the current legal system and secretly yearn for a different way to practice law, a different way to help people resolve conflict. Professionals who live their lives as peacemakers will be satisfied and fulfilled professionals even when surrounded by professionals and clients born and raised in the old paradigms of adversarial negotiation and litigation to resolve legal problems. The founder of Collaborative Practice, Stu Webb, tells the story of how after nearly 20 years of litigation practice he felt each day like a cowboy in an old Western who before entering his shack would put his hat on a stick and place it through the door opening to see if anyone shot it! On January 1, 1990 Webb declared himself a Collaborative Lawyer. Stu wrote a letter at the time to Justice Keith of the Minnesota Supreme Court. A key portion of the letter was:
'So my premise has been: why not create this settlement climate deliberately? I propose doing this by creating a context for settling family law matters by, where possible, removing the trial aspects from consideration initially. I would do this by creating a group of lawyers who would agree to take cases, on a case by case basis, for settlement only. The understanding would be that if it were determined at any time that the parties could not agree and settlement did not appear possible, or if for other reasons adversarial court proceedings were likely to be required, the attorneys for both sides would withdraw from the case and the parties would retain new attorneys from there on out to final resolution.'
The use of the disqualification agreement remains as a defining principle of Collaborative Practice. Since its inception Collaborative Practice has embraced the use of innovative conflict resolution techniques and most experienced collaborative practitioners have extensive interest based negotiation training.
The most significant development in Collaborative Practice since its inception has been the shift from a lawyer only model to its merger with an interdisciplinary team model. Relationship breakdowns involve the untangling of legal, financial, emotional and parental relationships. Family lawyers working in the Collaborative Practice model can work with Collaboratively trained financial and family relationships specialists to help their clients reach resolution. A neutral financial professional, who usually will have an accounting or financial planning background, can help parties and their lawyers gather financial information and assist with the development of options without concern of who put the idea forward. A neutral family relationships specialists can provide expertise for parents and the lawyers about what is most important for the children and also assist the parties as a coach working with the parties to help them communicate more effectively and gain insight about each other's perspectives and assist with providing opportunities to reach agreement using social-psychological skills to increase the parties’ power through co-operation rather than competition.
Rather than having the lawyers do everything, the Collaborative team can work with the parties to allocate particular tasks amongst the Collaborative team so that those most skilled are able to assist the parties deal with that issue. It is possible to reduce the cost of Collaborative process by allowing the most skilled Collaborative team member to focus on the issue within their expertise.
For more information regarding the basic Interdisciplinary Collaborative Practice training to be held in February 2015 go to the Adelaide Collaborative Centre web page www.adelaidecollaborativecentre.com.au
or contact the presenters directly :-