Many wonder about how collaborative practice works in conformity with traditional ethical and professional guidelines. While the collaborative process works differently from a litigated divorce, there are still several ethical considerations for the lawyers and parties involved in the process. For example, each collaborative attorney is independent from the other and represents only their client in the process.
While the collaborative lawyers will work together during the process to try and get the case resolved outside of court, there is no legal duty owed to one party by the other party’s lawyer. In other words, there is no lawyer-client relationship between one party and the other party’s lawyer by participating in the collaborative process.
Additionally, lawyers typically must agree to cease representation of parties if the process is unsuccessful and the case ends up being filed in court. This is permissible as the “limited scope representation” does not allow the collaborative lawyers to litigate the matter.
In Missouri, there is also a Missouri Supreme Court Advisory Opinion specifically addressing collaborative practice. It is known as Formal Opinion 124. Formal Opinion 124 is helpful to read because it helps explain the collaborative process. Formal Opinion 124 also states: “The practice of collaborative law is considered ethical in Missouri.”
In our blog articles, you can learn more about collaborative practice. You can also call us at 855-595-6679, and ask speak to meet with a collaborative professional, or fill out the contact form below: