December 16, 2015

Anxiety with My First Collaborative Case

This is my first blog post in a number of months.  Though I am an attorney (which requires a certain amount of writing) and even once fancied myself a writer for film and television, the truth is that writing does not come easy to me, and having to do so on a schedule – even one as relatively light as producing two brief blog posts per month – is difficult.  Moreover, with respect to this blog in particular, I felt like I had run out of anything to say.  I reached a point in my posts where, as an attorney relatively new to practice and very new to the Collaborative model, I was articulating as best as I could the party line on Collaborative practice insofar as I understood it from my basic training.  But because I had never actually had a Collaborative case, I had no experience to draw upon other than how much healthier I imagined my non-Collaborative cases would be were they to have been conducted in the Collaborative mode as I understood it purely in the abstract.  But as far as positive experience or insight into Collaborative practice was concerned, I was barren.  I hope that is about to change, for it looks as if I am about to start my first Collaborative case.  We have yet to schedule our first four-way meeting, but the clients and attorneys have all agreed to conduct the dissolution in the Collaborative mode, and we have even agreed on the retention of a financial neutral, without whom I had serious doubts about our ability to follow through on the Collaborative promise.  As much as I look forward to perhaps conducting a divorce without the rancor to which I have grown accustomed in my traditional practice, I still have butterflies in my stomach.  How experienced is the other attorney?  Will that attorney agree to the typical first-four-way agenda, or will we disagree over format before we’ve even begun?  I feel myself graduating from the firm comfort of doctrine to the soupy anxiety of real life.  I want this first foray to work out, but there are so many moving parts.  In my next several posts, I hope to be able to shed some light on the Collaborative process from the perspective of a new practitioner.  Stay tuned.


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

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