Members of the Collaborative Law Institute of Texas from across the state have come together to write the definitive book on collaborative law, to be published later this fall by TexasBarBooks, the publishing arm of the State Bar of Texas.
Collaborative Law—Start to Finish is designed to educate family lawyers, law students and anyone interested in learning about the collaborative law process, on how to handle a collaborative case, step-by-step, from beginning to end.
Kim M. Munsinger, a CLI-TX member and family lawyer who is one of the most active proponents for collaborative law in San Antonio, is editing the book, and wrote the book’s opening chapter giving an overview of collaborative law. In a recent press release on the work that Collaborative Law Institute of Texas members put into the book, she noted:
“This book is, first and foremost, a resource for family lawyers who want to take on collaborative law cases — starting with meeting a potential client for the first time, going through the collaborative process, and finishing with a collaborative agreement. This book will be an invaluable resource for those who want to learn how to do a collaborative case or how to improve their collaborative practice.”
The book is also being designed as a resource for law professors who want to teach aspiring family law students how collaborative law practice works. She noted, in the same press release, “Law professors who teach mediation and alternative dispute resolution now have an easy, authoritative way to bring this important new approach to conflict resolution to their students.”
Since Texas became the first state to enact a statute allowing collaborative law to be used in family law in 2001, and given that the book’s contributors include lawyers who have been practicing collaborative law since it first became an option, the book features a number of the most experienced collaborative lawyers in the nation.
Collaborative Law Institute of Texas-affiliated contributors, who each authored or co-authored chapters in the book, include Austin-based lawyers Kristen A. Algert and Jennifer Tull, College Station–based financial professional Tracy B. Stewart, Dallas-based lawyers Janet P. Brumley, Kevin R. Fuller, Jennifer Stanton Hargrave, and Curtis W. Harrison, Houston-based lawyers Jennifer A. Broussard and Norma Levine Trusch, and San Antonio–based lawyer Harry L. Munsinger, and San Antonio–based mental health professional Linda Ronconi; other contributors are Lawrence R. Maxwell, Jr. and Mike Gregory.
Chapter topics include how a collaborative case works, how to start a collaborative case, the benefits of having a collaborative law team, how financial professionals and mental health professionals specifically contribute to the process, how to start and run a successful collaborative practice, and how to apply the collaborative process beyond family law.
The book also includes 20 annotated forms and documents—including the collaborative statute and protocols of practice—designed to help lawyers and their clients through the collaborative law process.