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Collaborative Lawyers' Duties to Screen the Appropriateness of Collaborative Law and Obtain Clients' Informed Consent to Use Collaborative Law


John Lande


University of Missouri School of Law

Forrest Steven Mosten


UCLA School of Law


Ohio State Journal on Dispute Resolution, Vol. 25, p. 347, 2010
University of Missouri School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2009-06

Abstract:     
Collaborative Law (CL) is an innovative dispute resolution process that offers significant benefits but also poses significant non-obvious risks. This Article provides a systematic analysis of these possible risks as identified in books written by CL experts, CL practice group websites, social science research, and bar association ethics opinions. In CL, the lawyers and clients sign a "participation agreement" promising to use an interest-based approach to negotiation and fully disclose all relevant information. A key element of CL is the "disqualification agreement" signed by parties (and sometimes by attorneys) which provides that both CL lawyers would be disqualified from representing the clients if the parties engage in contested litigation. CL is designed to encourage parties to stay in the process which can be good, though sometimes parties feel stuck there, having invested thousands of dollars and being at risk of losing their lawyer if the process terminates. Ethical rules require lawyers to inform participants about the risks of the process and screen cases for appropriateness under Rules 1.2 and 1.7 of the Model Rules of Professional Conduct. Empirical studies raise concerns about CL lawyers' compliance with these duties. This article is intended to help prepare CL lawyers and practice groups so that they can better educate potential clients and comply with their obligations to screen cases and help clients make informed decisions about use of CL. It is also intended to help policymakers in promulgating and applying relevant rules. Bar association ethics committees may find this analysis useful in writing ethics opinions and adjudicating possible complaints against CL lawyers. Similarly, courts may find this useful in adjudicating possible malpractice complaints.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 87

Keywords: Collaborative Law, Collaborative Practice, innovation, dispute resolution, lawyering, legal ethics, professional responsibility, informed consent, screening, disqualification agreement, practice groups, conflict of interest, malpractice

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Date posted: April 5, 2009 ; Last revised: June 2, 2010

Suggested Citation

Lande, John and Mosten, Forrest Steven, Collaborative Lawyers' Duties to Screen the Appropriateness of Collaborative Law and Obtain Clients' Informed Consent to Use Collaborative Law. Ohio State Journal on Dispute Resolution, Vol. 25, p. 347, 2010; University of Missouri School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2009-06. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1373165

Contact Information

John Lande (Contact Author)
University of Missouri School of Law ( email )
Missouri Avenue & Conley Avenue
206 Hulston Hall
Columbia, MO 65211
United States
573-882-3914 (Phone)
573-882-3343 (Fax)
Forrest Steven Mosten
UCLA School of Law ( email )
385 Charles E. Young Dr. East
Room 1242
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1476
United States
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