This is a breaking story so my treatment of it will be preliminary. Reportedly, the Colorado Bar
Association Ethics committee has issued a formal opinion saying Collaborative Law --
which means both parties to a case making a binding agreement to hire lawyers only to negotiate and advise, not to litigate -- is per se unethical, and that a client cannot validly consent to the withdrawal of his/her
lawyer in the event the matter goes to court. (which is part of what all clients do in Collaborative Law).
There have been several other state-level legal ethics opinions around the country in recent years, all approving of Collaborative Law. This is the first one to disapprove.
Just to clarify, collaborative clients do not give up the right to litigate. They only give up the right to litigate with the particular lawyers they hired. And in return for that agreement, they get the same agreement from the other side, and a process with a whole lot more trust and openness on both sides than in most divorces or other legal cases.
In my opinion, if it actually does ban CL, this ruling violates clients' right to hire the counsel of their choosing, and their freedom of contract. It treats clients like children. In the long run, it cannot stand. Divorce is a dismal business for most divorce clients, and collaborative law is the single biggest thing that has come along to offer serious hope of making divorce less harmful.
I may have more collaborative things to say once I've actually read it.