Tag Archive | "Collaborative Law"

Introductory Interdisciplinary Collaborative Practice Training, May 11-12

ICLEF has partnered with the IACP to provide a comprehensive two-day training that will help legal, mental health and financial professionals gain a strong foundation in Collaborative Practice. Taught by a highly experienced interdisciplinary team, the training focuses on the skill sets of each profession and the integration of those skills in the process. Participants will be introduced to the theories, practices, and skills needed to begin a Collaborative practice. This program will also be helpful to those who wish to refresh their initial Collaborative training experience and deepen their understanding, while networking with other colleagues in the Collaborative community.

No need to travel far….
ICLEF is bringing Internationally acclaimed trainers Mariette Geldenhuys, Barbara Hummel and Lisa Schnieder right here to the Hoosier state to teach a two-day Introductory Interdisciplinary Training, which meets IACP Standards and is designed to provide you with the foundation necessary for success as a Collaborative practitioner.

What will you learn?
• How the collaborative team process works, the professionals involved and the wisdom of teams
• Advocacy in a collaborative context and understanding advocacy needs
• The importance of neutrality
• Understanding of interest-based negotiation
• Knowledge of Spectrum of Interest/ Core Concerns
• Facilitation of an initial client meeting and how to explain the process
• Overcoming resistance and perspectives of fairness
• Comprehensive Team Protocols,  screening and process design
• Professional team preparation and critical debriefing

What is the IACP?
The IACP is the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals, an international community of legal, mental health and financial professionals working in concert to create client-centered processes for resolving conflict.

Vision: Transform how conflict is resolved worldwide through Collaborative Practice.

Mission: IACP supports Collaborative Practice as a conflict resolution option worldwide by:
• establishing & upholding the essential elements, ethical & practice standards of Collaborative Practice;
• fostering professional excellence by educating and providing resources to Collaborative practitioners;
• leading and integrating the Collaborative community; and
• promoting the growth of Collaborative Practice.

Our IACP trainers are experienced pioneers in Collaborative Practice
Lisa Schneider has participated in the establishment, growth and on-going training of Collaborative Practice Groups around California’s Bay Area since 2002. She regularly presents at annual California Collaboration Conferences and is a part of a Collaborative Divorce Training Consortium, training practitioners nationally and internationally. Lisa believes that sharing experiences and learning from other financial specialists is instrumental in the development of the financial professionals’ role in Collaborative cases. She is an active member in many associations and committees, and is the recipient of the 2013 Eureka award in recognition of her commitment and dedication to Collaborative divorce.

Mariette Geldenhuys is Founder and Past President of the Ithaca Area Collaborative Law Professionals (IACLP), Mariette brought Collaborative Law to the Ithaca, New York community in 2003 and has actively promoted its growth and expansion. She designed public education presentations and instituted a mentoring program for newly admitted attorneys for the IACLP.  Mariette has presented Collaborative Practice training (both basic and advanced training) since 2006 in New York, New York; Ithaca, New York; Anchorage, Alaska; Dutchess County, New York; and Binghamton, New York. She has been a workshop coordinator and presenter at the Annual Forum of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals from 2005 through 2010. She was also a presenter at a symposium on “No Borders, No Barriers: Legal issues for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Clients and their families in the United States and Canada” in Niagara Falls, Canada, in June 2006.

Barbara Hummel, M.Ed., LPC is a Licensed Professional Counselor in private practice in Cincinnati, Ohio since 1988.  Before beginning her Collaborative work, Barbara conducted Effective Parenting seminars for 15 years, authored numerous articles addressing family issues and communication skills and appeared on local television and radio segments focused on topics related to effective parenting, successful co-parenting relationships, stepfamilies and divorce.  Barbara began working as a Family Relations Specialist in the Collaborative process in 2001 and became a family mediator in 2004.  Her work focuses on assisting couples and families resolve their differences and develop more respectful relationships.  Barbara is a past Co-Chair for the Cincinnati Academy of Collaborative Professionals in Cincinnati, OH, and has served on the local board for over ten years.  Currently, Barbara is a faculty member for the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals.


Come as a team and SAVE as a team!
To help make the decision to attend less of an economic one, and to promote the significance of the “interdisciplinary team approach” in Collaborative Practice, ICLEF extends an opportunity to join us as a team and save.

After the initial registrant, save 50% on each additional registration for our training when you register to attend the training with another professional colleague!  In other words, as many as three interdisciplinary colleagues can attend for the tuition of two!

For example, if you as an attorney register to attend at full tuition, when you invite a Financial Professional and/or Mental Health Professional to join you, they may attend at 50% off the standard tuition.

Pass along the savings or share the savings with your colleagues and enhance the training experience for you all!

$450 standard tuition (includes Credit Hours, Training Materials, and Refreshments)

$225 colleague tuition – available when professionals register together, after one professional registers at standard tuition. (includes Credit Hours, Training Materials, and Refreshments)
       – Use Discount Code “colleague” to save 50% on second registrant tuition
– Use Discount Code “colleague2” to save 50% on second and third registrant tuition


Introductory Interdisciplinary
Collaborative Practice Training
12 CLE / 12 CME – May 11 & 12

– ICLEF Conference Facility, Indianapolis



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The Power & Challenge of Teams in Collaborative Law, Nov. 17

New to the ICLEF curriculum! Whether formally trained in collaborative law or looking to learn more, this will be a wonderful forum to explore the process…

Our faculty includes internationally recognized collaborative law educators Nancy Cameron and Yuval Berger leading a day-long workshop environment that will address the collaborative team process.


Collaborative Practice involves working in teams, whether it is a team of two collaborative lawyers and two clients or a full interdisciplinary collaborative team working with two clients. In this one day workshop, we will explore the strength of teams, the importance of the team’s cohesiveness when working with conflict, and how to have productive conversations with your clients about involving an interdisciplinary team. As we strengthen our team practice and take on more challenging cases, team challenges are inevitable. This day will also give you an opportunity to work with some of the more challenging aspects of teamwork, to learn about the characteristics of the most successful teams and help build strategies to take home to your practice.

We will explore how:
* we inevitably bring our own values & professional identity needs into our work with colleagues and the impact this may have on the team:
*  to begin cases with team mates in ways that will maximize the chance for successful outcomes;
*  to keep our focus on the children when we have an allegiance to one of the parents;
*  to protect against splitting and becoming positional in the team, and strategies to address a split in the team after it has already occurred to build strategies to talk with a colleague whose behavior we feel is misguided, or even unethical;
*  to handle the tension of making space to give voice to our client’s concerns while at the same time protecting our relationship with each of the team members; and
*  to address a behavior by one of the team members, who may be our friend a well as our professional colleague, which undermines the ‘team spirit’.


Moderated by Internationally Recognized Collaborative Practice Professionals:

Nancy Cameron
Nancy J. Cameron, Q.C., Vancouver, British Columbia

Yuval Berger
Family Therapist & Divorce Coach, Vancouver, British Columbia


The Power & Challenge of Teams in Collaborative Law: Working Together to Resolve Disputes
6 CLE / 6 CME / 7.2 CPE / 6 CEH
Thursday, November 17,  9:00 A.M. – 4:30 P.M.

– ICLEF Conference Facility, Indianapolis


ICLEF • Indiana Continuing Legal Education Forum, Indianapolis, IN

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Law Tips: Collaborative Law, Part 2: The Ground Rules

Some believe that Collaborative Law is a part of the epic changes in the legal profession being witnessed across the country. Claire Emswiller Short employs this process in her daily practice. She’s providing her insights on this new approach to conflict resolution in our latest Law Tips series. This week Claire takes you inside the workings of Collaborative Law, looking at the ground rules:

The Collaborative Participation Agreement
The Participation Agreement is the key to the Collaborative divorce. This Agreement specifies the guidelines for the process; the most important being that if the process breaks down, both attorneys must withdraw and any neutral experts utilized are also no longer able to participate. This includes any and all work products. The Agreement also spells out provisions regarding the exchange of information and confidentiality between the attorneys and clients.

The Agreement serves many implicit purposes as well. First, it keeps everyone vested in the interest based negotiation model. The attorneys are able to be advocate and discuss possible solutions freely and so are the clients. Impasse and breakdown do occur. But knowing that any progress that has been made, information exchanged, or settlement decisions reached will be lost if a party digs in his or her heels, can be a powerful tool to get parties to reevaluate and rethink disagreements.

The Agreement also makes it clear that each client must voluntarily disclose all relevant facts. If it is discovered that either party has attempted to hide assets or withhold information, then this also results in both attorneys and all experts being forced to withdraw.

The Meetings
The real work in a collaborative divorce is done during a series of meetings in which the two parties and their respective counsel meet together to discuss each party’s interests as it pertains to the resolution issue at hand. This means that everyone is in the same room, there is no neutral mediator, and the discussions are centered upon an Agenda that has been distributed and agreed upon before the meeting begins.

The amount of meetings and length of each one depends on the facts of the case and the needs of the parties involved. The meetings can be organized by topic or each set to a specific time period, whatever seems to work best for the individuals.

Preparation/ Goals and Commitments
The most important aspect of these meetings often takes place before they occur. It is imperative that the attorney prepares his or her client before these meetings. The attorney should make sure the client has a clear understanding of what his or her interests truly are concerning a particular issue and to consider what the opposing party’s interests or thoughts may be.

This requires more than simply going down the laundry list and determining the assets, debts and respective incomes of the parties. The attorney needs to guide his or his client through determining the end-game goals-“where do you want to be at the end of this process?” “What do you want your life to look like?”

Yes, it is important to address immediate issues regarding household bills and temporary parenting schedules, but it is up to the attorney to keep the client from getting hyper-focused on these immediate details and constantly redirect them to consider the big picture like the stability of their children or long-term financial security.

Ground Rules and the Agendas
Because there is an Agenda for each meeting, everyone is aware of what will be discussed. This eliminates the stick of dynamite that blows up a settlement negotiation because the information was a surprise to one party or a sensitive fact is brought up that has limited relevancy to the specific issue being discussed. Each party is prepared for the issues being addressed. There is no room to get off topic or bring up irrelevant facts because the attorneys have made clear that meetings are to follow the Agenda. Side topics that arise must be tabled to the next meeting so that they can appear on that meeting’s Agenda with plenty of prior knowledge.

Another major difference in the Collaborative divorce as opposed to traditional methods is the Agenda which can assist in containing a common but very volatile difference. Indiana is a no-fault divorce state, meaning that courts are permitted to grant a divorce in response to a petition by either party of the marriage without requiring the petitioner to provide evidence that the respondent has committed a breach of the marital contract. While there are several benefits to this concept, it does substantially limit what history or information about the family is considered relevant.

Every divorce lawyer has a story of how the settlement negotiations blew up in the final moments over an old sofa or a Christmas CD. The issue is rarely about the worthless item the parties so suddenly find themselves unable to part with; it is usually an underlying hurt, distrust, or disappointment that has no place for discussion in a traditional settlement negotiation, so a spouse redirects those emotions into something completely unrelated.

In the Collaborative divorce, if a similar impasse occurs and the attorneys feel that there is something deeper creating the problem, then it can be put upon the Agenda as something that needs to be addressed or discussed. For example if an affair is involved, often the party that was cheated on just needs an opportunity to express his or her hurt, disappointment and anger and just have the other party hear them. However, by having it on the Agenda, both parties are prepared and they know it will be coming. So, no dynamite explodes and the attorneys can properly prepare each client for the discussion. The situation can be controlled, directed and hopefully productive in achieving a successful settlement.

Neutral Experts
Another unique aspect of a Collaborative Law divorce is that in this process only neutral experts are used. Meaning that instead of each party hiring his or her own experts to support positions and obtain more difficult information, the parties and attorneys agree on what neutral experts are needed and who will fulfill those roles. These types of experts include financial professionals, mental health professionals, and or child specialists.

Please note that these professionals MUST also be trained in the Collaborative Law Process and also must sign the Collaborative Participation Agreement (See Part 1.) signaling that if the parties decide to default to litigation, the experts must also withdraw along with the attorneys initially involved.  

We’ll break here until next week’s segment when Ms. Short returns to share her views on the future of Collaborative Law. 


About our Law Tips faculty participant:
Claire Emswiller ShortEmswiller, Williams, Noland & Clarke, PC, Indianapolis, is a third generation attorney, following in the footsteps of both her grandfather, Byron Emswiller, and her father, Kent Emswiller. She practices in the areas of estate planning, estate administration, estate/trust litigation as well as family law. Her family law practice includes divorce, post-decree modification, paternity, child support/custody, premarital agreements and she is a trained Collaborative Law professional. She also is devoted to assisting families or individuals develop plans and solutions for the care of family members who are aging, or have special needs, such as in the mental health or substance abuses areas. She  has substantial experience with guardianship proceedings and long term planning in trusts and adoptions.


ICLEF • Indiana Continuing Legal Education Forum, Indianapolis, IN

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Law Tips: Collaborative Law, Part 3: The Future

Welcome back to our Law Tips series featuring Claire Emswiller Short’s practical insights on Collaborative Law. As a closing for this topic, she has a discerning look at the future:

Is Collaborative Law divorce what mediation was 15 years ago? Will it spread throughout the country and permeate into other areas of law for alternative dispute resolution? There is certainly a possibility.

To grow in Indiana, in the family law arena and beyond, the challenge lies in getting enough professionals interested, trained and actively educating their clients about the option of a Collaborative Law divorce. While it is believed by many to result in better outcomes for all parties when conducted successfully, there may be some attorneys and professionals who simply are not willing or not able to make such a paradigm shift in their own professions.

Fortunately, in family law practice, there seems to be no slowing down the continued stream of young professionals coming through the area. With the divorce rate in Indiana teetering between 49% and 50% the supply of work is pretty steady and rarely ends after the final decree. Exposure to the collaborative commitment to civility and cooperation and it’s process for achieving that from a client will not be difficult for a new professional to accept and embrace. They are not deeply invested with years of experience in the traditional models and the shift into collaborative practice will not be a dramatic overhaul of what they have become familiar. The challenge will come in the permeation into other areas of law and disputes.

One of the reasons that family law has been the medium for the Collaborative process is because the interactions between the clients are not done at arm’s length-and more than likely, there is going to be some sort of a continued relationship or interaction between the parties. That creates incentive and motivations for the required commitment to civility and cooperation of the process. Further, many of the interests align between the individual parties, so it is easier to find common ground on the important issues.

Labor/employment, family and partnership business disputes and restructurings, healthcare conflicts and construction claims may be other areas that could benefit from a Collaborative Law approach. Another area of law where there are similar characteristics is in estate and trust administration/ litigation, though the main challenge in this area of law is one of the most demonstrative examples of the type of challenge that would require a more collective effort by practitioners and professionals in the legal arena.

Trust/estate litigation can be a substantially costly endeavor for an individual, non-business entity, as is usually the party in these matters, and often, wronged parties are not financially able to address disputes. The inhibiting expenses come from the same sources as in divorce cases, just often on a multiplied scale depending on the number of family members involved: Mainly discovery/information gathering and valuation of assets.

For example: Decedent dies with an adult brother, and three adult surviving children. Decedent owned and operated a business that owned land, buildings, merchandise, services, and several other complicating factors for valuation and his brother was his second in command. Decedent leaves a will dividing his entire estate (including his business) equally to each child and to his brother. However, disputes arise about what would be considered an equal division, operation of the business, etc. and each party hires his own counsel. That is five attorneys who are each conducting his or her own discovery, communication, settlement negotiations, etc., with four other attorneys. Not to mention that if the dispute involves the valuation of assets, you have five different appraisals for each type of asset involved in the dispute (land expert, business valuation experts, and asset valuation experts).

So either the parties go ahead with traditional litigation and spend most of the estate assets on litigation expenses that may or may not save the business or, do nothing. And, because of the disputes, mistrust and discord that emerges, the business is unable to continue and the relationships between the parties and respective families are ruined.

This would be a perfect scenario for a Collaborative Law process. The parties could agree to hire one set of neutral experts, while discovery and information gathering could be streamlined and done more efficiently. The focus could remain on the true issues at hand with the option of addressing family rivalries and side disputes that may really be fueling the impasse that often standstills progress towards settlement. It will most likely save the future relationship of the parties as well as effectively preserving the estate assets.

The biggest challenge for growth in areas like estate/trust litigation comes back to enticing professionals in that area to make that shift and to be trained, but on a more difficult level. Here, since the repeal of the Indiana Inheritance Tax and the large exception amount reached for Federal Estate Tax, the stream of newly practicing attorneys into this area has slowed. There just simply is not as much work to go around to support a purely trust and estate practice. This means that those in this area are likely very invested in the old model in which they have probably been practicing in for a long time. It would be a tough transition to change this kind of professional’s mindset but surely not impossible

Again, the key is to educating practitioners, the judiciary, and the public of the advantages and possibilities surrounding this type of method. That is more likely to be achieved by the profession as a whole, not by individual practice areas.

Many thanks to Claire Emswiller Short for this intriguing look inside the ripening Collaborative Law arena. If you are interested in Claire’s CLE presentation on Collaborative Law, ICLEF still has a few Video Replay Seminars of, “Epic Change: The Evolution of the Legal Profession.” Simply Click Here and we’ll guide you through the easy steps to enroll.


About our Law Tips faculty participant:
Claire Emswiller ShortEmswiller, Williams, Noland & Clarke, PC, Indianapolis, is a third generation attorney, following in the footsteps of both her grandfather, Byron Emswiller, and her father, Kent Emswiller. She practices in the areas of estate planning, estate administration, estate/trust litigation as well as family law. Her family law practice includes divorce, post-decree modification, paternity, child support/custody, premarital agreements and she is a trained Collaborative Law professional. She also is devoted to assisting families or individuals develop plans and solutions for the care of family members who are aging, or have special needs, such as in the mental health or substance abuses areas. She  has substantial experience with guardianship proceedings and long term planning in trusts and adoptions.

About our Law Tips blogger:
Nancy Hurley has long-standing connections with Indiana lawyers. She was formerly a member of the ISBA and IBF staffs for over 30 years. Nancy’s latest lifestyle venture is with ICLEF. We are utilizing her exceptional writing and interviewing skills while exploring how her Indiana-lawyer background fits with ICLEF’s needs. When she isn’t ferreting out new topics for Law Tips, her work can be found in our Speaker Spotlight blogs, postings on the ICLEF Facebook and Twitter pages, and other places her legal experience lends itself.

Thank you for reading Law Tips. You may subscribe to this weekly blog through the RSS link at the top of this page.  Also, you are encouraged to comment below or email Nancy. She welcomes your input as she continues to sift through the treasure trove of knowledge of our CLE faculty to share with you.

ICLEF • Indiana Continuing Legal Education Forum, Indianapolis, IN

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