Collaborative Law / Practice*

The Uniform Collaborative Law Act (159 PA 2014) and the principles of “collaborative law” and “collaborative practice” are discussed in the Guide. Although primarily associated with domestic relations cases, a growing number of parties are experimenting with its use in general civil cases. Unlike mediation and case evaluation, it cannot be ordered by the courts and can only be engaged in voluntarily.

Although the decision to pursue a potential collaborative law process is typically agreed upon prior to the filing of a lawsuit, the parties are free to pursue a collaborative practice resolution following the filing of a complaint. At the Initial Case Management Conference with the court, the potential of a collaborative practice approach can be explored with the parties to determine if this might be a viable alternative for the parties’ consideration.

Indications for consideration:

  • Counsel have had prior experience with collaborative practices
  • There is a high likelihood the parties desire and will have an ongoing relationship (personal, business, or otherwise) following the resolution of the dispute
  • Counsel have a high likelihood of being able to work together constructively and professionally in the resolution of the dispute
  • Counsel appear to have significant client control
  • The parties are interested in a speedy resolution of the dispute

Timing

As early as possible either before filing or following the initiation of the litigation.