Colorado Ethics Opinion against Collaborative Law
March 06, 2007
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.
Meanwhile, there will probably be much more information soon on Pauline Tesler's Collaborative Divorce Newsblog at http://collaborativedivorcenewsblog.blogspot.com/
The CCLP is an incestuous group and should be banned along with Colorado's CFI's. The CFI's in the state of Colorado comprise one of the country's most unregulated and unqualified group of people who make runious decisons about children's lives. The most interesting part is by virtue of the relationships fostered by the CCLP, any attorney can employ any group of professionals to deliver the result they want for their clients. We have experienced this travesty of justice firsthand. A law firm can advertise itself as CCLP, put a team of "prfessionals" CFI, therapist and testing psychologist in place who will "collaborate" and then use another attorney on their staff who will litigate after they have gotten the benefit of the CCLP affliation and collaboration. In additon, the lack of regulation and enforcement of the CFI's in the State of Colorado is unconsitutional given that Colorado is a hotbed of the discredited Parental alienation legal strategy. The CCLP brings speakers into the MDIC which support that strategy,and then the CCLP attorney's benefit from using their coercive little groups to deliver that verdict. It is criminal and it is unconstitutional. The Colorado CFI's do not have the training or the education to make life altering decisons for children. The role of the CFI should not be open to anyone with less than a PhD with a sepcialty in child psycholgy; and it should be closed to LCSW's who do not have the education or the training to make life altering decisons for children. In additon, Colorado does not ascribe to the national regulations which mandate guidelines for custody evaluations...your people can write what ever they please without gounding it in metholodology, child psychology or scientiific research. Your judges, without the benefit of training in childpsychology, attachment or child development have far too much discretion to determine the "best interests of the child" without the training to back it up.Colorado attorney's and judges have been conditioned to think that 50-50 parenting is ideal, destroying the lives of mothers and children everywhere. Perhaps Colorado needs to educate itself in the work of Judtith Wallerstein. international reseracher, and Executive Director of the Center for the Family in Transition who has done the first 25 year longitudinal study of divorce, following children of divorce for a period of 25 years. Her findings are published in The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce: A 25 Year Landmark Study. The findings conclude that a whole generation of children have been lost to court ordered joint custody with deleterious effects upon children's psychological and psychosocial development lasting far into adulthood.
Between the incestuous nature of the CCLP, the left-wing education put forth by the Colorado MDIC, (who is run by the CCLP), the lack of education, regulation and training of your CFI's and Custody evaluators,and your courts policies of ignoring the impact of domestic violence on children, particularly psychological, verbal and emotional, your system is barbaric to women and children and in need of major reform.
Grandmother, New York
Posted by: Suzanne Papke | February 24, 2009 at 12:14 PM
Hi John- is there any way you could direct me to where I could get a copy of the Colorado ethics opinion and also would you be able to send me a copy of the ABA opinion that endorsed collaborative law back in October? I am a law student at CU Boulder and am writing a paper for my ethics class on Collaborative law and stumbled across this blog just now. These would be great (and really necessary) to discuss in my paper. Any help you could give me is greatly appreciated. Thanks! Alisha
Posted by: Alisha Taibo | February 29, 2008 at 05:29 PM