We all want the public to have a great experience with Collaborative Practice. Whether you are an attorney, financial expert, child expert, counselor, or other professional, your traditional training has not prepared you for what makes Collaborative Practice a unique and rewarding experience for all participants. Training specific to Collaborative Practice will assist you in transferring your professional education, knowledge and experience to the Collaborative Practice framework. It provides the links between the professions necessary for true collaboration to occur. The more training you have in Collaborative Practice, the more likely the public will benefit from your knowledge and the more likely your Collaborative Practice will be successful and flourish.
Often attorneys new to Collaborative Practice wonder why it is necessary to enter into an agreement not to represent the client in court if the Collaborative process does not resolve all issues. This disqualification agreement is fundamental to what makes Collaborative Practice work. Without this agreement, the unspoken threat of court action hangs over the process and erodes the commitment to peaceful settlement that makes the Collaborative model strong.
Adherence to professional ethical standards is always important. Your practice group provides a venue for lively and learned discussions of ethical concerns as well as an avenue for exploring the approaches and opinions of national and international organizations with similar concerns and standards.
One cost as well as benefit is the social nature of the practice. Because we work as a team, we have to spend time getting to know each other and learning to work well together. Good teams do not just happen, they are the result of a lot of hard work. On the other hand, the greater sense of community, of establishing strong relationships with other Collaboartive Professionals, can be extremely rewarding. The work can be more difficult while at the same time less stressful. It can be more difficult to help clients talk to each other effectively than to simply talk for them, but when the clients own the outcome, there is not the pressure on the professionals to obtain the result for the clients. Many Collaborative Attorneys in particular find the work much more satisfying than litigation because it feels more constructive and less destructive, and because their clients tend to have higher satisfaction levels with solutions they have had a greater hand in crafting.
Practice groups are where Collaborative Professionals come together to learn from each other, discuss issues of mutual concern, and get to know each other so we can better function as team members. In addition, local practice groups set local standards for Collaborative Practice, advocate for appropriate court rules to support Collaborative Practice, provide forms specific to this model, and work to promote Collaborative Practice to the general public.
Collaborative Professionals of Washington is a group of Washington Professionals promoting Collaborative Practice, uniform court rules, appropriate legislation, coordinated trainings, and high standards of practice statewide. Within the state there are many local practice groups. CPW helps the various local groups and their members stay connected with each other, and provides a common forum to maintaining the integrity of Collaborative Practice throughout the state.
The International Academy of Collaborative Professionals (IACP) is the definitive practice group. Nearly everyone who gets the Collaborative Practice bug eventually joins the IACP. The IACP does a great job of providing promotional and educational materials, sponsoring international conferences and bringing together experts from around the world to address cutting edge Collaborative Practice issues. Some local practice groups require or strongly suggest IACP membership. For more information on IACP visit their website at www.collaborativepractice.com
While there is no requirement to belong to any practice groups, membership in a recognized group communicates your qualifications to potential clients and other Collaborative Professionals. Many Collaborative Professionals are wary of taking cases with other professionals who may lack adequate training. Practice groups are where you form the relationships needed to put together successful teams. Membership in your local practice group, state-wide CPW, and IACP also affords you the benefits of the power of group syergy, helping to modivate, train, and support you in your collaborative practice. Most importantly it keeps you informed of advances in this evolving model and keeps you networked with other trained Collaborative Professionals locally, across the state, and across the nation.