Collaborative Law Spreading Like a Virus

Debra L. Bruce, JD, PCC.

It’s growing and it’s infectious. Could we be experiencing an epidemic of civility and candor among our fellow lawyers? Collaborative Law, once contained to the family law sector, may be breaking through to the resolution of business and other civil disputes. A recent rash of events evidences the spread of the contagion.

Where Collaborative Law is Spreading
On December 9, 2004, Texas State Representative Toby Goodman filed HB 205 to amend the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code to authorize Collaborative Law procedures in civil litigation outside the family law arena. On January 18, 2005, the Board of Directors of the Houston Bar Association authorized the creation of a new Section of the Houston Bar Association called the Collaborative Law Section. The HBA is the first major bar association to establish a Collaborative Law Section, but Dallas is not far behind. The Dallas Bar Association has a newly formed Collaborative Law study group, which is a required precursor to becoming a section of the Dallas Bar Association.The Texas Collaborative Law Council, Inc. was formed in August 2004 as a non-profit corporation by civil attorneys to promote the use of the collaborative process for resolving civil disputes, and to educate lawyers and the public as to the benefits of the process. Collaborative Law also garnered nationwide, mainstream attention in January 2005 when The Today Show, the NBC television morning news program, featured a segment on the positive impact the Collaborative Law process is having on divorcing couples.

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