“Let us never negotiate out of fear.
But let us never fear to negotiate.”
– John F. Kennedy
Interested in Resolving Your Dispute Through Collaborative Law?
“My joy was boundless. I had learnt the true practice of law. I had learnt to find
out the better side of human nature and to enter men’s hearts. I realized the true
function of a lawyer was to unite parties riven asunder. The lesson was so
indelibly burnt into me that a large part of my time during the twenty years of
my practice as a lawyer was occupied in bringing about private compromises of
hundreds of cases. I lost nothing thereby-not even money, certainly not my
– Mohandas Gandhi (1957).’
Collaborative law, according to the preamble of the 2010 draft of the Uniform Collaborative Law Act, “is a voluntary, contractually based alternative dispute resolution process for parties who seek to negotiate a resolution of their matter rather than having a ruling imposed upon them by a court or arbitrator.” This draft document offers an excellent overview of collaborative law and collaborative divorce, its applications, its practitioners, its strengths, and its limitations. For anyone considering resolving a dispute through this approach, I recommend downloading and reading it; access is here. Alabama is one of only approximately twenty states so far to adopt a version of the Uniform Collaborative Law Act. Alabama’s version of the statute is here.
Collaborative law is somewhat similar to mediation, in that it requires voluntary disclosure and results in an agreement created by the parties. But there is no mediator, and the attorneys representing the parties are both usually present during negotiations, assisting the parties in working on crafting their own agreement.
Most discussions of collaborative law focus on its use in domestic relations law (see this Wikipedia article), and most of the early practitioners of this style of resolution have indeed been specialists in collaborative divorce. I practice collaborative divorce as well, but collaborative law offers benefits in many other areas of legal disputes — probate law, construction law, shareholder disputes in small and medium-sized businesses, minority shareholder oppression matters, business partnership dissolutions, and wrongful discharge claims. Collaborative law solutions should be considered in any dispute where the parties would like to avoid the expense and the public exposure of litigation while also attempting to preserve value — in a business, in family property holdings, in the care and support for children. Like mediation, collaborative law and collaborative divorce offer parties the benefit of crafting their own resolution to their dispute rather than having a resolution imposed upon them.
I am a member of the International Academy of Collaborative Law Professionals, the Collaborative Law Committee of the Alternative Dispute Resolution Section of the American Bar Association, the Collaborative Law Committee of the Birmingham Bar Association, and the Birmingham Collaborative Alliance.
Call me at 205-314-4874 or email me, [email protected], if you are interested in learning more about resolving your legal issues through collaboration.
Additionally, if you and your spouse may be moving toward divorce, please watch this video about collaborative divorce from the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals.
Need a Mediator or an Arbitrator?
I have practiced law for over twenty-six years. For most of that time, I have been a certified mediator and arbitrator. I am a member of the rosters of mediators and arbitrators maintained by the Alabama Center for Dispute Resolution (see my profile here) and the panel of mediators maintained by the United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama. I am also registered as a mediator with the Financial Regulatory Authority (FINRA). In early 2017, the American Arbitration Association appointed me to its commercial panel of arbitrators.
Most of my experience as an arbitrator has been with, first the National Association of Securities Dealers, Inc., and then, after NASDAQ merged with the New York Stock Exchange, with FINRA. I have served as the sole arbitrator or as a member of a panel of three arbitrators in close to one hundred NASD/FINRA cases. In perhaps forty per cent of the three-member panel cases, I have been selected as the chair. Securities Mediation brochure
Mediation, unlike arbitration or lawsuits in court, offers parties the ability to resolve their dispute on their own terms. I have served as a mediator since 1995. I have mediated employment cases for the EEOC and for cases pending in federal court. I have mediated securities cases involving both customer and industry disputes. I have mediated small claims cases and cases with millions of dollars at stake. I have mediated commercial disputes and sports management disputes. I am willing and prepared to mediate any and all manner of civil disputes including domestic relations matters. See my profiles on mediation.com.
My standard fee is two hundred dollars per hour ($200/hour) for both arbitration and mediation services, with the same rate applicable to preparation and hearings/mediation sessions. In the Birmingham area I will reserve conference rooms in one of the five Regus meeting facilities in the city, or I will mediate at the offices of counsel or a neutral law firm site. I am willing to travel anywhere for mediation or arbitration (in any forum in which sessions are conducted in English), and I do not charge for travel time unless that time is also utilized for preparation. Mediation brochure