On February 10, 2007, the Council of the ABA Section of Dispute Resolution voted to create a Collaborative Law Committee. The purpose of the Committee is to encourage the use of Collaborative Law, to monitor and advise the Council about CL developments such as the CL Drafting Committee created by National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws, the emerging set of state ethical opinions on CL, and legislation around the country, and to help the Section build bridges to such organizations as the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals and to other Sections of the ABA.
"Collaboration with IACP is an important priority for the Committee," said David Hoffman, who chairs the Committee. "Our goal is to be supportive of IACP's efforts, and the efforts of local, regional, and international CL groups, in the field of Collaborative Law."
One of the Committee's objectives will be to focus on the areas outside of family law where CL might be useful and to increase the use of CL in the civil arena. Considering the limited usage of CL in civil cases, the CL Committee will also explore how negotiation processes might be tailored to make them more appealing to civil lawyers and clients. In addition, the Committee will reach out to the various Sections of the ABA, such as Health Law, Probate, and Employment, where educational work is needed to increase awareness of CL.
The Committee held its first meeting by conference call on March 1, and decided to establish working groups or subcommittees on ethics, legislation, outreach/education for the ABA, outreach/education for the public, and a web site subcommittee. The Committee will meet by conference call monthly and in person in Washington, DC, on April 27, 2007, in conjunction with the annual conference of the ABA Section of Dispute Resolution. Information about the conference and the Committee is available at www.abanet.org/dispute.
David Hoffman, who proposed the formation of the ABA Committee, is an IACP member and co-founder (along with Rita Pollak) of the Massachusetts Collaborative Law Council; he is also a member of the recently-formed IACP Ethics Task Force. The members of the Committee include Pauline Tesler and many other IACP members, including the leaders of several state and local CL groups. Membership in the Collaborative Law Committee is open to anyone who is a member of the ABA Section of Dispute Resolution; information about joining the Section is available from the Section office (202-662-1680).
Thanks to Steve Kriegshaber, president of the Louisville area interdisciplinary collaborative family law group (Kentucky Collaborative Family Network, Inc.) for calling my attention to the announcement.