In 2017, CDT made credentialing available to qualified legal, financial, and mental health professionals. Getting credentialed involves several steps and can be challenging if you don’t plan ahead because some requirements take years to complete. The requirements for earning a collaborative credential include being a member of CDT for three consecutive years and being licensed for five years prior to filing your application, having concluded eight collaborative cases in three years prior to application or twenty cases in your career for a credential and fifty collaborative cases to earn a master credential. You also need at least three positive professional recommendations solicited by CDT, and you must have attended basic collaborative training. Additionally, within five years of filing your application you must have attended three of five State Bar of Texas Collaborative Law Courses, one CDT advanced training, and twenty-five additional hours of collaborative training. You must also pay an application fee. Finally, to qualify for the master credential you must show significant leadership and service to the collaborative community.
Plan Ahead. It’s critical to begin thinking about and planning for the training and experience requirements several years prior to applying, because it takes three years or less to accumulate the eight cases required for becoming credentialed and much longer to complete fifty cases. Additionally, you need to attend collaborative training courses over several years. Finally, you need to have worked with at least three different professionals who know your work and can write informed recommendations for the credentialing committee.
Collect and Copy Participation Agreements. One of the more challenging tasks is to find and copy the signed participation agreements needed to prove you completed the requisite number of collaborative cases, particularly for the master credential. If you are applying to be credentialed, you need to go back only three years or collect twenty cases, but if you plan to apply for a master credential, you will need to dig into your storage files and find a minimum of fifty executed participation agreements. If you have an office policy of shredding documents after seven years, you may have difficulty collecting and copying these documents. One way around that hurdle is to contact other professionals who worked on your missing cases and see if they have a copy of the executed participation agreement. You may want to assign an assistant to do this work.
List All Trainings Attended. For attorneys listing their trainings is an easy task because the State Bar of Texas compiles a complete list of all approved training courses attended by each attorney, including the number of hours, the date attended, and the name of each course. Financial and mental health professionals will need to reconstruct their training history from accounting records, course records, or contact CDT and ask for help.
List Contact Information for Professionals. Collect names, addresses, phone numbers, and e-mail addresses for each professional who worked on a completed collaborative case with you in the relevant time span. As a courtesy, give each professional written notice that you are submitting an application for credentialing and let them know they may be contacted by CDT staff for a recommendation.
Service Requirement. If you are applying for a master credential, you will need to document your leadership and other significant service to the collaborative community at the local and statewide level. There are a number of ways you can meet this requirement, including writing blogs for posting on the CDT website, by serving as an officer in your local practice group, by joining the Board of Trustees of CDT and serving on their various committees, by mentoring young collaborative attorneys, mental health or financial professionals, by presenting at collaborative conferences, by giving a collaborative training, by presenting seminars to your practice group, or by writing articles for publication in local or statewide journals.
Complete and Proof the Application. Once you have collected the information you need to complete the credentialing application, fill in the facts on the CDT credentialing application form. Add copies of the executed participation agreement for each case you are claiming, check the application facts against the credentialing requirements to make certain you meet all the requirements, edit the application for spelling and accuracy, ask a friend to check it, place your check in the proper amount inside the package, address it to CDT, 5420 LBJ Freeway, Suite 626, Dallas, TX 75240, and either mail or FED EX the materials to CDT prior to the deadline.
Don’t get discouraged, the process is tedious and can seem technical, but it’s worthwhile and will give your collaborative clients confidence in your stills and training.