October 30, 2014

Collaborative Law – The New Paradigm

Fish jumps from a crowded fish tank into an empty tankCollaborative Law and Practice is part of a new paradigm in family law.

What does that mean? Why should you be interested in a new paradigm? What does the new paradigm have to offer that the old paradigm doesn’t? These are all interesting questions. Lets take a look at them.

What does a new paradigm mean?

In 1962 Thomas Kuhn published a book called The Structure of Scientific Revolution. The book introduced what has proven to be a groundbreaking new concept, that progress in science is not gradual, but what he called a punctuated equilibrium with moments of epochal change. That has a nice ring to it! He attached the term paradigm shift to this process, and that term has now reached a common acceptance in our language to describe any profound change in our frame of reference.

Collaborative law and practice is one such paradigm shift. Just as Kuhn described in his book, the emergence of this concept has been hard fought. The underlying concepts it created were not widely accepted. Very importantly, it has concepts and insights that go far beyond the insights of the creators. We didn’t recognize the true substance of what we were doing at that time, but over time things changed

We were attacked early on by members of the old paradigm, who were unable to think outside the box. We, ourselves, fought every idea that came forth as the new ideas began to emerge. When we finally saw how our own thinking was being stretched we began to see we had something special.

We had a lot of failures in the cases we handled early on, because we had to learn new ways of doing things. We had a lot of resistance from the traditional legal community, who told us it would never work.

But it did! Today there are over 5,000 trained collaborative professionals from twenty four countries around the world. Those numbers are growing daily.

Why should you be interested in the new paradigm?

New paradigms symbolize progress – the ever present force of life that keeps humankind transcending to higher levels of consciousness. For the growing number of people who live an examined life, it makes good sense to be aware of structures that support evolving energies.

In the old model of resolving conflict, courts were created to help preserve peace by providing ways in which disputes could be resolved without warfare and mayhem. To that end, courts do provide a better alternative to public order than fighting duels or participating in long standing family feuds. But, like parents disciplining children by sending them to their rooms, the dispute may stop, but the source of conflict may go on.

Collaborative law practice provides a new model that helps solve problems and heal conflict rather than winning battles while fighting wars. Resolving disputes in the new paradigm moves all of the participants ahead. Is that not a worthy goal for people who started out loving one another?

What does the new paradigm have to offer that the old paradigm doesn’t?

For openers, collaborative law practice offers the possibility of empowerment. Empowerment is an emerging concept – there is still no clearly accepted definition of it across multi-disciplinary lines. For many it is a buzz word to get attention. But it is much more than that. It challenges old assumptions about power, especially about sharing power. It is not a zero sum game, where someone wins and someone loses.

The new paradigm of collaborative law practice balances the power between both parties. It challenges each party to be responsible to see that their personal interests are met while expanding awareness to include seeing that their partner’s needs are met as well. It provides a path or journey for the parties that develops as they move through the process. The professionals are not responsible for the agreement – only to see that each party has all of the relevant information needed for them to find their agreement.

When this happens, the possibility of symbiosis arises. Symbiosis is a mutually beneficial relationship between two parties who are closely aligned, that helps lift each of them to their highest functioning self.

Collaborative law practice offers the possibility of transcending potentially destructive aspects common to divorce. When you consider the benefits of such a possibility, who would NOT want a shot at obtaining it?

Talk with any collaborative professional to find out more about how this exciting new paradigm works.

Bruce Peck

Bruce is one of the founding members of the Collaborative Law Institute.
Back in the Wonder Years, this small group was trying to figure out what a new way of practicing family law might look like. Today the collaborative law concept has exploded, not just throughout the United States, but also internationally. For over thirty years Bruce has continued to hone his skills to provide the highest quality of services to family law clients. He helps good people make tough choices during difficult times.

Bruce is a laid back and easy going person who listens well to others. He is a shameless optimist who can always see possibility and opportunity. Being very curious by nature, he is a voracious reader. His love for words has drawn him into being an avid poet.

Bruce’s skills supports clients interests without alienating their spouse. When the parties reach agreement, it is not under duress. They have the time to discuss all decisions with their attorneys before signing the agreement. Once completed, the stipulated divorce is filed with the court for a default hearing in which neither party, nor their attorneys, ever have to set foot inside a courthouse. Learn more at www.BrucePeckLawOffice.com

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