Committee on Collaborative Law

The Collaborative Law Committee will consider the benefits of, and concerns about, Collaborative Law (“CL”) and seek to improve and expand its use, where appropriate, as well as promote professionalism and best practices in the field.  It will keep its membership apprised of developments in the field, as well as the efforts of other CL organizations, the Court system’s efforts in the CL field, and the effort to enact a Uniform Collaborative Law Act.

Chaired by Harriette M. Steinberg, the Collaborative Law Committee is engaged in the further development of an exciting area of expansion in ADR.

Collaborative Law (“CL”) has been described as a cousin to mediation.  Its practitioners typically help the parties reach a resolution by agreement, using interest-based negotiation rather than positional bargaining.  It differs from mediation in that each party has an attorney who helps the party develop and crystallize the party’s interests, objectives and concerns, points out the relevant and helpful practical and legal facts and arguments, and ensures that each party makes a well-informed decision. 

The most striking feature of CL is the parties’ and attorneys’ agreement that both parties’ attorneys withdraw if either party leaves the negotiation and proceeds to adversarial-litigation.  The parties and attorneys display their commitment to a negotiated settlement and employ the techniques typically employed by mediators to establish rapport with the other party, reframing and looping the concerns of each party and understanding the interests beneath any stated positions.  CL is best when the relationship between the parties is as important as the issue that is in dispute and empowers the parties to be in control of the final resolution.The Committee helps to (i) spread knowledge of CL to non-CL lawyers; (ii) develop best practices in CL; (iii) promote and expand the use of CL in appropriate circumstances in both family and civil cases. 

The Committee has been monitoring the Uniform Law Commission’s efforts to promulgate a Uniform Collaborative Law Act (“UCLA”) and in conjunction with other Bar Association Committees has been providing feedback to the Commission.  The Committee is drafted a report, in cooperation with the Section’s Legislative Committee, on the substance and advisability of the UCLA for the NYSBA DR Section. The report was approved by the Executive committee and will be used to inform the New York delegates to the American Bar Association House of delegates which has before it a resolution relating to the UCLA.  

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