The Annual Collaborative Course, held March 7-8, 2019, in Dallas was a rousing success. The conference was sponsored by the State Bar of Texas, Collaborative Divorce Texas, and the Collaborative Law Section of the State Bar. Approximately 170 collaborative lawyers, mental health professionals, and financial professionals attended; they enjoyed interesting substantive content, an informative free membership luncheon attended by over 75, and a complimentary President’s dinner enjoyed by approximately 60 attendees, including CDT Board of Trustees members.
The Inaugural General Membership Meeting. The CDT Board of Trustees summarized their activities for CDT members at the inaugural general membership meeting. Honey A. Sheff, President of CDT, outlined the current status of Collaborative Law in Texas (healthy and growing), increasing membership in CDT (305 currrent members), and urged all CDT members to continue working to make collaborative law the preferred way to divorce in Texas. Our President introduced the CDT Board of Trustees, and asked each chair to describe his or her committee’s activities. Carol Mapp outlined her committee’s work on Policies and Procedures and announced her committee is revising the Protocols of Practice for Collaborative attorneys, financial professionals, and mental health professionals. Kevin Pinkley described recent successes of the Fundraising Committee, including selling banner ads, searching for donors, meeting with fund raising specialists, and logging volunteer hours for the Board of Trustees. The “I Made A Difference” fund raising campaign at the Spring Conference raised $30,070. David Bouschor announced his committee is revising our CDT forms. Julie Quaid highlighted the upcoming Advanced Training on June 21st, 2019 in Dallas dealing with the effect of litigated and collaborative divorces on children. Suzanne Blake reported how the marketing committee is continuing to bring collaborative divorce to the attention of Texans through our statewide social medial campaign. Harry Munsinger announced that the CDT Newsletter will shift to a weekly format in May, 2019, and Ronda Robinson reported we currently have 305 CDT members (currently at 313).
Course Sponsors. The CDT Board of Trustees and all CDT members extend a special thank you to our course sponsors who make the speakers, social, and snacks possible: Briggs & Veseika; The Crouch Group; Friday, Milner, Lambert, Turner; Quaid Farish; Quilling, Selander, Lownds, Winslett & Moser;Blake l Cooper Financial; CD Austin; CD Collin County; CD Dallas; CD Lubbock; Duffee + Eitzen; Fuller Mediations; Gray Reed McGraw; Lazar Law; Pam Friedman/Silicon Hills Wealth; Kate Smith Law; Tindall England; The Benaglio Group; Cindy Barela Graham; Christen Clower; Robin Watts; Deborah Lyons, Ph.D.; Family Docket; Goranson Bain Ausley; The Hadton Law Firm; Karen King; Ken Wise, Ph.D.; Law Office of Jennifer Tull; Thompson Salinas Londergan; Honey Sheff, Ph.D.; Julie Howell; and Our Family Wizard. We would also like to extend an additional thank you to the host sponsors for our membership meeting lunch: Will Morris with Divorce Real Estate Solutions, Raechel Parolisi, Carol Mapp & Rhonda Cleaves
Social Media Advertising Campaign. Tim Crouch presented a summary of our social media advertising campaign and noted that since shifting to a statewide campaign we have seen enormous growth in CDT website traffic. Thanks to the “I Made A Difference” campaign, increased membership dues, income from banner ads, and modest profits from our training activities, CDT has expanded the statewide advertising campaign to educate divorcing Texans with the benefits of a collaborative divorce.
Substantive Topics. The Collaborative Spring Conference featured several interesting topics, including dealing with high-conflict personalities (clients who suffer from personality disorders), communication breakdown (communication issues between professionals and clients, between clients, and within the collaborative team), and guiding clients through difficult situations (difficulty cooperating, acting unilaterally, having unrealistic expectations, being mistrustful, and lack of empathy). Other topics included how to break an impasse in a collaborative case, how coaching can enhance collaborative settlements, the surprising increase in gray divorces, and unexpected tax consequences of divorce. If you missed the 12th Collaborative Spring Conference, plan to attend in 2020.