As we noted last month in this article, San Antonio collaborative lawyer Kim Munsinger edited a book called Collaborative Law: Start to Finish, which shows lawyers how to lead clients through the collaborative process. Thanks to the Texas Bar Journal, which recently published this interview with Munsinger, there’s now more information out about the creation of this very important book.
On answering why the book was necessary, Munsinger spoke to the utility of the book by saying:
Collaborative law is such an important innovation in family law. Although Texas has a statute that describes the process, many lawyers don’t realize that conducting a collaborative case involves technique, not just following rules. The book provides a step-by-step guide through a process that otherwise would be difficult to navigate. The chapters are roughly chronological and include pointers to the annotated forms so the practitioner will know which form to use at each stage of a case.
In answering a question about what Texas lawyers will take away from the book, she pointed out something that also speaks to the clear choice clients now have in determining what direction they’d like to take a divorce:
Texas law now offers two distinct paths to getting divorced and resolving family law matters. One path is cooperative and collaborative, and the other is adversarial (traditional litigation). Lawyers can advise clients about which process is appropriate; neither process is right for all cases. Collaborative law is a surprisingly structured and ordered process. The lawyers, clients, and other neutral experts don’t simply sit and chat in meetings but work from agendas and follow a road map. Interest-based negotiation is used in settlement descriptions in order to optimize the outcome for both parties.
The idea in publishing the book is to allow family lawyers to guide clients through a collaborative case, even if they’re not located in a city or region that already has a network of collaborative professionals. By making collaborative law a viable option in more places, the team behind the book will enable a greater number of couples to have a choice in what tone to set for their post-divorce lives.