Global Collaborative Law Council

(formerly Texas Collaborative Law Council)

Collaborative Resolution of Civil Disputes

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Welcome to our New Directors  

With members from coast to coast in the United States and in Australia, Canada, France and the Czech Republic, GCLC continues to extend its reach throughout the United States and internationally. We welcome our new Directors.

Melanie M. Atha is with the Cabaniss Johnston law firm in Birmingham, Alabama. Melanie will serve as Secretary of the Council. She is a founding member of the Birmingham Collaborative Alliance, a member of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals and she was recently appointed to the Alabama Law Institute Committee on Collaborative Law. She is actively involved in efforts to enact the Uniform Collaborative Law Act in the State of Alabama. Melanie is an active a member of the Collaborative Law Committee of the ABA Section of Dispute Resolution.

Marie Brozova has an active practice of law in Prague, Czech Republic, specializing in collaborative law and other ADR processes. Marie attended GCLC's Training and Symposium in Dallas in 2011 and 2012 and received the traditional award for a participant traveling the greatest distance to attend. She serves as GCLC's Regional Chair for Europe, and is a member of the Czech Group of Collaborative Attorneys at Law and other Professionals and the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals.

Robert R. Miller, Jr. has an extensive background and many years of experience in banking and real estate. Robert attended GCLC's Training in 2012, and will serve as a Liaison to the business community. He recently established his law firm in Dallas and is committed to helping people resolve conflicts in the most efficient, respectful and financially responsible method possible. With litigation experience in business and family matters, he is convinced that the collaborative  process is generally more efficient, less stressful, less time-consuming and less expensive.

Thank you, Retiring Directors

Robert C. Prather, Sr. served on the drafting committee that drafted the Texas Uniform Collaborative Law Act, which will be introduced in the 2013 Session of the Texas Legislature as a new Chapter 161 in the Civil Practices & Remedies Code; thereby expanding the benefits and protections of the UCLA to parties who wish to resolve disputes in all areas of civil law.

William B. Short, Jr., a prominent construction lawyer in Texas, has continually promoted the use of collaborative law for resolving construction disputes. In 2008, he co-authored an article with Larry Maxwell on collaborative law and the construction industry ConsensusDocs, which was published in the Construction Law Journal, a publication of the State Bar of Texas.

Norma L. Trush is a true pioneer in the collaborative movement, having served for two terms a President of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals. Norma teaches a course in collaborative law at South Texas College of Law in Houston, Texas, and for many years she has trained lawyers and other professionals in the collaborative process.

We thank Robert, Bill and Norma for the valuable contributions they have made during their tenure on GCLC's Board of Directors. Their service is very much appreciated. We are delighted that they will continue supporting the mission of GCLC by serving on Advisory Board of Directors.

Update on the Uniform Collaborative Law Act and Uniform Collaborative Law Rules  

In 2009, the UCLA was unanimously approved by the Uniform Law Commission. In considering enactment, states have a choice whether the UCLA will be limited to family law maters, or to enact the UCLA with no limitation as to scope, thereby affording the benefits and protections of the statute to parties wishing to use the process to resolve disputes in all areas of law.

By early 2013, the UCLA had been enacted in Hawaii and Nevada (no limit as to scope), and Utah, Texas, Ohio and the District of Columbia (family matters only), and introduced in Washington, Illinois, Massachusetts and Oklahoma. In 2013,  introductions are possible in Alabama, New Mexico, Michigan, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Florida and Texas (with no limit as to scope.  The goal of the Commission is to achieve ten enactments by the end of 2013, which will put the UCLA ahead of many uniform acts in terms of enactments within only four years.

Civil Collaborative Law course at Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law  

In 2011, with the support of Dean John Attanisio and Professor John Lowe, Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, the Academic Committee, established a three hour course in civil collaborative law as a part of the regular curriculum at Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law. In it's third year and with a growing number of law students, the course is taught by GCLC co-founder and VP Sherrie Abney. The basis for the course is a textbook which Sherrie authored: Civil Collaborative Law: a road less travelled.
The first textbook published on Civil Collaborative Law
    Civil Collaborative Law: a road less travelled
        by Sherrie R. Abney, Co-founder and VP of GCLC
Stu Webb, the creator of collaborative law, believes that collaborative practice is beginning to take hold in the area of civil law and when it takes hold, the growth of collaborative practice in that area will equal or exceed the growth that has happened in family law.
"One of the key parties that is making a difference in midwifing collaborative practice in the field of civil law is Sherrie Abney. I am hopeful that Civil Collaborative Law: a road less travelled  and subsequent trainings will create the energy for civil law practitioners to experience the break-through in their area of practice that we family-law practitioners continue to experience as we support clients to achieve collaborative agreements."
                           Stu Webb
                           Attorney at Law
                           Minneapolis, Minnesota
Having trained in civil collaborative law throughout the United States and internationally, Sherrie's textbook has received notable endorsements from around the world.

"Sherrie Abney's relaxed, informative and engaging manner of teaching transitions seamlessly into her style of writing. It is cliché to say that this book is a "must read" for students and practitioners of the collaborative process, but Sherrie's latest text is one which every student and collaborative practitioner will want to have close at hand."

                           Robert Lopich
                           Collaborative Lawyer & Nationally Accredited Mediator
                           Sydney, Australia
"With a very solid background in civil law as a mediator and collaborative lawyer, Sherrie shares her valuable experiences and thoughts with others through her training, this manuscript and may articles focused on the collaborative process. Her training is very complex and focuses not only on theory, but mainly on practical issues. I highly appreciate the materials that Sherrie provides."
                           JUDr. Marie Brozova
                           Prague, Czech Republic
"In this text, Sherrie provides a balanced and comprehensive framework that will enable trainers and law students around the globe to acquire the requisite knowledge and skill in the collaborative dispute resolution process. It will aid readers in developing the capacity to appraise current practice within their locality and to critically evaluate the possibility of a paradigm shift to better serve their clients."

                           Bob Rawlings Onghetich
                           International Law Institute  
                           African Centre for Legal Excellence
                           Kampala, Uganda
Civil Collaborative Law: the road less travelled is available through 

GCLC Newsletter  

Many thanks to Sherrie Abney, a co-founder and VP of GCLC, for her labor of love editing the GCLC Newsletter for several years. Sherrie will continue to edit the Newsletter of the Collaborative Law Section of the Dallas Bar Association. Larry Maxwell, a co-founder and the President of GCLC from 2004 through 2011, has assumed the position of Executive Director and he will take over as editor of the GCLC Newsletter.

The newsletter keeps GCLC members informed regarding the activities in various collaborative communities around the world. If you would like to stay abreast of the worldwide collaborative movement as a member of GCLC, you may apply to become a Licensed Professional Member or an Associate Member. For more information on the Benefits of Membership and to obtain a New Member Application form, go to Membership Information.

President and CEO of the CPR Institute supports Collaborative Law  

The International Institute for Conflict Prevention and Resolution (CPR Institute) is an international nonprofit coalition of corporate counsel, top law firms, judiciary and academics, dedicated to providing resources and information in commercial conflict prevention and dispute management. The Journal of Dispute Resolution, a publication of the University of Missouri School of Law. published an article by Kathy A. Bryan, President and CEO of the CPR Institute entitled Why Should Businesses Hire Settlement Counsel?  Ms. Bryan outlines the benefits of CL, gives ideas and proposals for future direction of the CL movement and concludes: "Given the rapid growth and stunning impact of CL in family law, it is time to experiment with CL concepts in the business setting." The author encourages corporate counsel to take the lead and experiment with using separate settlement counsel and with more pure forms of CL.  

Collaborating Down Under  

Robert Lopich, a collaborative lawyer and nationallly accredited mediator in Sydney, Australia, has  been appointed by the Council as its first International Director and Chair of the Council's Austral/Asian Region. In Collaborating Down Under Robert provides a glowing report of the March 2009 collaborative law conference held in Sydney, and describes the enthuastic support of Australian government officials for the collaborative law movement in Australia.

New York is Interested in Collaborative Law and the Uniform Collaborative Law Act  

GCLC's newly elected President Norman Solovay, a prominent New York attorney, has many years of litigation and arbitration experience and in recent years he has enthusiastically supported collaborative law and other ADR processes for resolving civil disputes. He is actively involved with the Dispute Resolution Section of the New York State Bar Association, and he was instrumental in the  January 2011 publication by the Section of a Report of the Uniform Collaborative Law Act supporting the Uniform Collaborative Law Act.

In 2009, Norman Solovay and GCLC Past President and current Executive Director, Larry Maxwell co-authored an article entitled "Why a Uniform Collaborative Law Act?," which was published in Spring 2009, Vol. 2, No. 1, of the New York Dispute Resolution Lawyer, a publication of the Dispute Resolution Section of the New York State Bar Association. The authors strongly support enactment of the UCLA and opine that ". . .the further growth and development of collaborative law holds out significant benefits for clients and the legal profession. . ."

Significant Developments in Collaborative Law  

In February 2007, the American Bar Association Section on Dispute Resolution established a Collaborative Law Committee. David Hoffman of Boston, Larry Maxwell of Dallas and Linda Wray of Minneapolis currently serve as Co-chairs of the Committee. The mission of the Committee is to encourage the use of Collaborative Law, educate the Section, the ABA and the public about the use of Collaborative Law, A number of GCLC members actively participate in the work of the Committee.

In August 2007 the American Bar Association Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility issued Formal Opinion 07-477 approving the use of collaborative law agreements by lawyers. The ABA Ethics Opinion puts to rest the questions raised by the Colorado Ethics Opinion, and squarely supports the use of collaborative law participation agreements so long as the clients are well informed about the process. In October 2008, the Collaborative Law Committee authored a Discussion Draft entitled Summary of Ethics Rules Governing Collaborative Practice, The paper addresses ethical issues considered in state court opinions issued to date and ABA Formal Opinion 07-477.


In July 2009, at its Annual Meeting in Santa Fe, New Mexico, the Uniform Law Commission by a unanimous vote approved the Uniform Collaborative Law Act.
In 2010, the Commission approved Court Rules which mirror the original UCLA, and modified the 2009 UCLA to enable states to adopt the Act only in matters arising under a states' family laws. The UCLA had been enacted in Utah, Nevada, Washington D.C. and Texas (family matters only), and introduced in Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, Alabama and Washington state. In 2012, a number of additional introductions are anticipated.

In 2011, the ABA Collaborative Law Committee developed a Mission Statement and established Sub-committees to carry out its short and long-range objectives. The Committee is most interested in educating the public and the next generation of lawyers as to the benefits of the collaborative process for resolving all civil disputes.

Construction Industry's ConsensusDocs and Collaborative Law  

The Winter 2008 edition of the Construction Law Journal, a publication of the State Bar of Texas Construction Law Section, contains an article entitled Collaborative Law: It's Here and the ConsensusDocs Are, Too, authored by Lawrence R. Maxwell, Jr. and William B. Short, Jr. The article provides a brief historical perspective of the development of the collaborative dispute resolution process, details how the process works and explains the similarities between the protocols and procedures of the collaborative process and the construction industry’s ConsensusDOCS. Gregory M. Cokinos, of the Houston law firm of  Cokinos, Bosien & Young, Editor of the Journal comments that "the collaborative process requires a different approach to resolving disputes with a cooperative mandate and deserves consideration."

The first book published on Civil Collaborative Law  

Avoiding Litigation: A Guide to Civil Collaborative Law 
        by Sherrie R. Abney, GCLC co-founder and VP

The book is available on Avoiding Litigation has received excellent reviews, by Gay G. Cox, published in The Collaborative Review, and by Lawrence R. Maxwell, Jr., published in Alternative Resolutions.

Avoiding Litigation has received notable endorsements from around the country:

"Here it is! The definitive book on Civil Collaborative practice!"

                                    Rita Pollak, Co-founder
                                    Massachusetts Collaborative Law Council

"Thank you for providing this excellent work to spread the gospel. Only one as uniquely qualified as you could have transferred lessons learned from domestic practice to the civil arena - and you have performed the task eloquently. Your work will be a useful tool in reforming a flawed legal system."

                                    Nolan Murrah, Program Director

                                    Office of Dispute Resolution, State of Georgia

"Avoiding Litigation provides a great deal of practical information in a theoretical framework that helps both clients and their counsel understand this revolutionary new approach to conflict resolution. I recommend this book to attorneys who are interested in trying this new, better way of practicing law and resolving conflicts."

                                    William M. Andrews, Director
                                    Collaborative Council of the Redwood Empire

"This book is a must read for attorneys interested in exploring the possibility of enhancing their own lives and that of their clients by utilizing this ground-breaking new approach to dispute resolution. Abney's style is eminently readable, and her grasp of collaborative concept is as good as you can get."
                                    Norma Levine Trusch, Past President
                                    International Academy of 
                                      Collaborative Professionals

Collaborative Law Brochures  

A series of brochures have been developed which describe the civil collaborative process and explain how the process can be used for resolving disputes in various areas of law. The brochures may be viewed and ordered on-line from Four Corners Solutions, Inc.