Future Law

IACP’s 20th Annual Collaborative Practice Forum is Coming to Chicago

collaborative practiceThis October, hundreds of lawyers, mental health professionals, financial professionals and other collaborative practitioners from around the world will descend on Chicago for the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals’s (IACP) 20th Annual Networking and Education Forum.

The forum, which will be held October 24-27, is an opportunity to learn more about this method of dispute resolution, which aims to transform the ways family conflicts are resolved. The event will include eight day-long pre-forum institutes, 40-plus workshops, two plenary sessions and more highlighting some of the most well-known collaborative practice trainers in the field.

Not familiar with collaborative practice? We spoke with Anne Tamar-Mattis, Executive Director of the IACP, and carl Michael rossi, owner of Collaborative Practice Chicago and Executive Director of the Collaborative Practice Professionals of Illinois, about how collaborative practice is impacting the legal profession.

How is collaborative practice used?

Anne: Collaborative practice is an approach to dispute resolution in which parties commit to staying out of court, and take responsibility for crafting their own solutions with the support of experienced professionals. Each party is represented by an attorney, and they also have the assistance of other experienced professionals as needed. For example in divorces, mental health professionals, child specialists and financial professionals can be engaged. Collaborative practice is also used in civil and commercial disputes and other areas of family law.

How does collaborative practice compare with other methods of dispute resolution? 

Anne: Collaborative practice offers a more peaceful, dignified and child-centered path to restructuring families after divorce than litigation. It keeps the decisions in the hands of the family, where they belong, and keeps the trauma of litigation away from the parties and the children. In collaborative practice, each party is represented by an attorney who advocates for them while also helping the clients find a resolution that meets everyone’s needs as well as possible, all while staying out of court. 

One defining feature of collaborative practice is the disqualification clause, which binds the parties and the collaborative team to resolving the issues out of court. By taking the litigation option off the table, the collaborative process focuses the parties on finding solutions.  A short video featuring experienced professionals explaining the process is available here

From a legal perspective, where does collaborative practice stand in Illinois?

Anne: While collaborative professionals have been practicing successfully in Illinois for nearly two decades, the Uniform Collaborative Law Act became effective in Illinois in January 2018, setting procedural parameters for collaborative practice in Illinois and providing official recognition of the legitimacy of collaborative law. There are six collaborative practice groups operating in Illinois, and nearly 100 collaborative professionals around the state listed on the IACP website. Those looking for a collaborative professional in Illinois can find one at https://www.collaborativepractice.com/members.

Why should lawyers attend the 2019 IACP Forum?

Anne: Collaboratively trained attorneys will find the 2019 IACP 20th Anniversary Forum to be the largest gathering of collaborative professionals in the world, bringing together the best trainers on the world stage, and highlighting the ideas and innovations of groups from five continents. 

The great ideas, the international flavor and the compassion, spirit and sense of fun that our attendees bring combine to make it a conference like no other. Those who are not yet trained are welcome to attend and learn more about collaborative law, and an introductory training put on by the Collaborative Law Institute of Illinois will be available right beforehand. We will also be offering free CLE courses open to all attorneys on Friday, October 25. More information is available at https://www.collaborativepractice.com/iacp-events.

How can Illinois lawyers become involved in collaborative practice?

carl Michael: Illinois has had collaborative practice professionals since 2000. Any of us who’ve been involved with it are always happy to chat with someone who’s curious. Please say hello and ask us about it. It’s also really valuable to get involved with it with one or more other colleagues whom you already trust [and] respect. Consider doing a training workshop together. Yes, it’s essential that you do some training for this fairly different approach to people’s need to resolve various issues. There’s one happening in Chicago in conjunction with the Forum. There are also others happening across the country and in other countries.

Consider joining a practice group such as the Collaborative Law Institute of Illinois. Or you and your colleagues may want to form one. The IACP has very helpful information on how to do that successfully. And I really encourage you to join and stay connected to the IACP. There is something very powerful about the mix of learning and growing together locally and learning from people in other areas.  


Register for the ICAP Annual Forum here. Early bird pricing ends September 3.

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