The role of a collaborative lawyer is to foster an environment of cooperation while representing the client diligently and competently. Each collaborative lawyer works with her/his client individually and in association other team members.
Collaborative training for lawyers differs from the traditional law school adversarial system where the goal is to fight and win. In a collaborative case, the lawyer must represent his/her client’s interests while also taking into consideration that the goal is to bring about a fair resolution for all affected. In family law, this involves working with spouses and their family without resorting to litigation. The Collaborative Law attorney must think in terms of not only the legal issues but also the human dynamics of the client and the other party. The goal is to be effective and to diffuse negative emotions which might lead to an explosive chain reaction. Instead of thinking about “what is the most we can get from the other side?” or “how can we exploit differences?” the attorney must take into consideration what is fair and how to achieve resolution working together. Clients look to the attorneys and other professionals in their words and deeds to model how clients should behave while involved in a difficult discussion. Attorneys are counselors at law who must strive to promote civility and respect for the individuals and the Team process.