My year as Chair of the Collaborative Law Section of the State Bar of Texas is drawing to a close.  As it does, I want to express my sincere gratitude to the Collaborative Law Section membership for giving me the opportunity to represent the Section.  It has been an honor to serve with so many attorneys who have a vision of bringing a more respectful way of resolving disputes to the citizens of our state. I have truly treasured meeting and working with section members across the State.  My enthusiasm for what we will be able to accomplish in the future for our clients through the collaborative process has continued to rise as I have worked with the dedicated lawyers of our section.  I am also more aware than ever that we have an obligation to inspire and include young lawyers in the collaborative process lest its reach decline when we retire.

 

We are a small section, but we are mighty.  Our membership has grown over the past year and because of that fact, we have been able to provide more services to our members and also to the public. I am continually impressed by the quality of representation provided to clients by our members.  I have witnessed the highest levels of professionalism and civility amongst the members of this Section and see the collaborative process as a way to change how disputes are resolved in the future.  I resolutely believe that the default should be collaborative instead of scorched earth litigation.  Several of you have reached out to me over the past year with ideas for ways to bring the collaborative process to more people and I thank you so much for doing so.  Your passion for the collaborative process and perseverance has helped the movement grow and thrive.  We have a responsibility to remain involved in order for collaborative to continue to grow and become the norm instead of the alternative.

 

I am so proud to report that our Section was the recipient of a Pro Bono Service Award from the Texas Access to Justice Commission in recognition of our Collaborative Law Pro Bono Project, a joint project with Collaborative Divorce Texas which is making the collaborative law process available to low-income clients in need of dispute resolution.  There are currently successful projects in place in several metropolitan areas with more on the horizon.  Our members are dedicated to bringing the opportunity for a better way of resolving conflicts to all citizens of the state of Texas, not just the upper and middle class.

 

Our Section has continued to educate the public and other lawyers regarding the benefits of the collaborative process.  We have continued our Local Bar Outreach this year and have broadened our educational efforts to include the general public. It was energizing to talk with these groups and answer their questions regarding the collaborative process. The excitement they expressed to us, renewed our enthusiasm to bring information regarding the collaborative process to more people every day.

 

Our members have also continued to sharpen our skills and increase our knowledge of how to be the best collaborative professional possible. The Section co-sponsored the 12th Annual Civil Collaborative Law Conference in September and it was a great success!  As always, it drew speakers and attendees from all over the world. We are excited to report that the 13th Annual Course moves outside of Texas for the first time and will be held September 7-9, 2017 in Tampa, Florida.

 

Our Section also co-sponsored the 2017 Collaborative Law Course in March which had more registrants than it had in years, including law students as well as lawyers from diverse areas of practice.  This Course provided its registrants with an opportunity to reflect on the history and lessons learned throughout the time that collaborative practice has been in existence in Texas and see how to apply those lessons to our own practice to provide the highest quality of service possible to our clients.  Next year’s conference will be held in Austin on March 22-23 and it promises to be an even bigger success.

 

Our CLE program at the State Bar of Texas Annual Meeting in Dallas at the Anatole Hotel is scheduled for Friday, June 23, 2017 from 9:00 a.m. until 11:00 a.m. and is entitled “Sitting With, or Running From, Conflict”. The speaker is renowned collaborative mental health professional, Linda Solomon, LPC, LCDC, LMFT. She will help us understand the conflicts and how to best manage the emotional throes that result which will help all parties work toward the best resolution.

 

The current bar year ends on May 31 and it is time to renew your membership in the Section. I encourage you to not only renew your section membership but to also get involved in the section in the upcoming year.  Collaborative practice is growing and we can accomplish great things with your help!

 

As Abraham Lincoln said:

Discourage litigation. Persuade your neighbors to compromise whenever you can. Point out to them how the nominal winner is often a real loser – in fees, expenses, and waste of time. As a peacemaker the lawyer has a superior opportunity of being a good man.  There will still be business enough.

Be a peacemaker!

 

Julie H. Quaid, Chair

Collaborative Law Section