June 11, 2014

A Collaborative Education

483636051Since joining CLI late last year – shortly after passing the Bar – I had been looking forward to attending The New Collaborative Experience and formally beginning my training in the Collaborative method.  Unfortunately, prior to the course being scheduled for early this month, I had committed to attending the ABA Family Law Section Spring CLE Conference in Bermuda, which took place last week and conflicted with the second day of the training.  Acknowledging for a moment how painful it was having to spend three full days on an island paradise, I nevertheless marked with some disappointment the passage of Friday, May 9th, when a new a group of CLI members was ostensibly gathering at Edinborough Center to complete the introductory seminar.  Between sips of my Dark & Stormys, I wished I had been among them.

In truth, however, my empirical education in collaborative divorce began even before I joined CLI, certainly in my attendance at various trainings and urged on by my supervisor, Linda Wray, who has both devoted and reaped so much to and from the Collaborative movement, but also in my day-to-day interactions with attorneys who exemplify in their demeanor and practice what has become clear to me as a better way to “do” divorce.  For better or worse, I am, by default, a peacemaker; and I have found among those whom I am now privileged to call my Collaborative colleagues like minds whose wisdom and greater experience has inspired me in my first months of legal practice.  To be sure, even the Collaborative path is not always rut-free, but it offers an approach to an inherently difficult process that can leave its participants whole and prepared for a new chapter of life, rather than broken and mired in the past.

The ABA Spring Meeting, incidentally, was invigorating.  I took advantage of the CLE offerings on the topic of Assisted Reproductive Technology, in which field I have an intense interest and which will increasingly become a part of every family practice.  But I also look forward to the Fall, when The New Collaborative Experience will presumably be offered once again.  I have already reserved my November weekends for it.


Joshua Gitelson comes to the practice of law via a first career in the entertainment industry in Los Angeles, as a film editor and writer for motion pictures and television. The son of a lawyer on the one hand and a clinical psychologist on the other, Josh has gravitated toward family law as an amalgam of these two “family businesses.” His parents’ amicable divorce inspired him to help others through the divorce process with as little rancor and conflict as possible. As a result, Josh has embraced the collaborative divorce model as a technique to complement his work on divorce in the traditional litigation mode. Learn more at https://www.lindawray.com/CM/AttorneyBios/JoshuaGitelson.asp.

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