Scott Clarke left us with an important reminder in his last presentation at Collaborative Divorce Texas’ annual Spring Conference: it is the parties’ process. I am constantly reminding myself of same as I try to improve my skills as a collaborative attorney. One way I do so is not only continuing my training and education but immersing myself in the collaborative community in Texas, across the country and throughout the world. Learning from and observing the awe-inspiring talent that has migrated to the Collaborative World has taught me a lot.
While listening to collaborative professionals at the IACP Annual Forum last month, I was again impressed with the level of knowledge our colleagues across the world really have about the process and their recognition of the fact that it really belongs to our clients. I was particularly astonished by a presentation of Kevin Scudder, a Seattle attorney who only handles Collaborative Divorces. He, and his fellow attorneys, agree not to discuss law in the initial intake (in fact they only do so in team meetings). Instead, the focus at inception is solely on the process, the fit of the case and parties to the process, AND the fit of the attorney with the potential client. And at the end of the consult, Kevin advises his potential client that if he or she feels the collaborative process will work best for them – which anyone who listens to his presentation of the process and the options most likely will always do- that he would be honored if they decided to INVITE him into their resolution. Whether we do as Kevin suggests or not, we need to remember, we are guests at their party. We have been entrusted with their process and must act accordingly.