This past Saturday, March 5th, the Collaborative Professionals of Southwest Florida spent the morning at the Susan G. Komen 5K Race for breast cancer research.  Nine collaborative professionals and supporters helped to spread collaborative law awareness at booth #11.  Although the Collaborative Professionals of SWFL group has been around for many years, not a lot of people are aware of collaborative law.  Collaborative law is an alternate dispute resolution option for people going through a difficult time, such as a divorce.  By making the choice to resolve a conflict through the collaborative law process, the people involved are making the choice to resolve their case confidentially in a non-court process.  Collaboration is an innovative method of problem solving designed to lead to a win-win resolution and maximize the outcome for both parties.  To ensure a low or no conflict resolution, each spouse and their attorney formally pledge in writing to work in an open, respectful, and non-hostile manner.  Over a year ago, we began to discuss ways to market the collaborative law process on a macro level and after researching local events, we collectively decided to become participants and sponsors of the Susan G. Komen 5K race.  We provided giveaways, candy, nutrition bars, and informational brochures on collaborative law.  Hundreds of people stopped by our booth and we were fortunate enough to have the ear of our peers for a brief period of time and our message was warmly received.  Many people shared their unfortunate stories of divorce that affected not only themselves, but their children and extended families.  One grandmother lamented how painful her daughter’s divorce was on her and her husband and how she wished that she would have known of collaborative law as an option back when.  (It should be noted, that collaborative law can be used in many legal settings, such as mergers & acquisitions, shareholder disputes, and, as noted, marital dissolutions.)  The best part about the process, and why each of us got involved in promoting collaborative law, is that it preserves families and relationships.  We see the pain and suffering that all people involved go through when they see someone they once loved attacking their credibility in a court setting.  Of course, the collaborative process won’t work in all legal settings, but our goal on Saturday was to make people more aware of this wonderful alternative option to resolving dispute.

Special thanks to Sheila Furr, Ph.D., P.A. and the Florida Academy of Collaborative Professionals.  Without their kindness and support we would not have been able to promote collaborative law at this fabulous event.

Have questions about collaborative law? Visit our “What is Collaborative Practice?” page

For more information on the Collaborative Professionals of Southwest Florida please visit http://www.collaborativepros.com/

sgk5k-team

Pictured above from left to right: Keith Grossman, Esq., Jayne Wayne-Martin, Esq., Trisch Garthoeffner, CVA, MAFF, Shelly Finman, Esq., Eleanor Flannery, Esq., Debbie Silver, MD, and Ann Sell, LHMC (back).