Best Collaborative Practices involve teamwork-like the Ravens. Seems like everything I am reading these days involves teamwork; and how a better result can be achieved through team effort. The sum is bigger than its parts.
It is more than a move South for the winter, but as “Wheezie” would say, we are …..”moving on up to the Big Time”! We love our new location and hope you will, too. Plenty of parking….near the Columbia Mall. Please stop by and say “hello”
You can still reach us at 410 465 8900 and can still email us at firstname.lastname@example.org., but ur new physical address is:
10440 Little Patuxent Parkway, Suite 900, Columbia, MD 21044
We hope to see you soon!
Jac E. Knust
Collaborative Lawyer and Mediator
Our Best Collaborative Practices blog is now mobile friendly.
We have now updated the blog so now, no matter what mobile device you use, you should now be landing on a “friendlier” version of our blog.
For those who just can’t get enough of the “Billable Hour”, I have set forth below evidence of true marketing genius language straight from the RogueTime ad on the Apple App website. And don’t you just love the name they chose for their App and how it so nicely squares with the image of lawyers? Notice the action verbs in the ad. Here it is:
Catch and charge for every minute you spend.
Are you losing revenue? It has been noted in recent analyses and surveys that approximately 25% of the hours worked may never be billed because people are unable to keep track of all the work they do.
Don’t let time slip away…RogueTime© captures your billable mobile phone time – down to the minute. Stop chasing paper statements and spreadsheets! Use RogueTime© to download your AT&T billing and create reports by client and date.
Kudos and credits to Ron Baker and the folks at the Verasage Institute for this wonderful link:
CAUTION: Strong Language
Business must be run at a profit, else it will die. But when anyone tries to run a business solely for profit….then also the business must die, for it no longer has a reason for its existence. -Henry Ford
Profit merely supplies the gas to run the professional car. It is not the reason we have professions. Cars exist because they facilitate our transportation and contribute to our convenience, quality of life, and existence. A profession exists because its members provide a valuable service to its customers. Without the customers or clients, there is no need for a profession. The primary focus of any profession ultimately is to provide value to its customers…and the professional will incidentally make a profit only when value is provided to the customer. Henry Ford was not successful in selling cars because he made a profit. His business was successful and profitable because he provided something desired and valued by its customers.
Many of our readers are already familiar with what Collaborative Law is, but some readers are not familiar with the concept. We want this blawg to encourage participation by those who are unfamiliar with Collaborative Law, so here is a synopsis of collaborative law:
Collaborative law refers to a process of resolving disputes in an out of Court manner. While a couple may be guided by the law, they are not restricted to using the “legal” solution. Each person has their own lawyer who gives legal advice to their client and assists the client with achieving their goals. Both persons are encouraged to use a coach, who is a mental health professional trained to assist the client in dealing with the emotional aspects of dissolving a relationship. Full disclosure of material information is expected. A team approach is emphasized with conferences between the team or between the team and the clients to move the matter toward an amicable resolution. With financial issues, such as valuing assets or business interests, the couple selects one mutually agreed upon expert trained in the collaborative law process to assist in valuing assets. The process is private and confidential and is not subject to the restrictions of the Court scheduling process. Like mediation, emphasis is placed on needs based solutions and not on positional bargaining. “Outside the box” ideas are examined and the parties brainstorming is used to generate possible solutions. Where children are involved, their needs are considered paramount. Lawyers agree not to represent their client in any contested legal proceeding, which helps all persons focus on an out of Court resolution.
Summarizing, Collaborative Law:
Requires an out of Court resolution of all matters.
Prohibits the threat or initiation of litigation to achieve a result.
Is private and confidential.
Enables Lawyers to give legal advice to their client but work collaboratively with the other lawyer, the lawyer’s client, and the team.
Requires transparency in the process.
Prohibits lawyers from being involved in contested litigation between the parties.
Is “needs based” and discourages positional bargaining.
Is usually faster and less expensive than litigation.
Is respectful of the emotional aspects of couples resolving differences.
Moves at apace set by the couple and the team.
Encourages client input and participation in the process.
Would a collaborative approach or mediation work well in traffic or criminal court? Recently I appeared in court representing a young college student who was charged with travelling 130 mph on a motorcycle on one of the local interstates late at night. He received a PBJ (in Maryland this stands for “Probation Before Judgment”, not Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwich). The outcome is in many ways what you might expect if the matter was resolved in mediation-not through the adversarial Court process. Here is why I say it was “interest based”-a mediation hallmark: The Defendant 1) avoided receiving a guilty finding or a point assessment on his driving record, and 2) and the outcome is generally viewed more favorably by employers, the government, and insurance companies. His interest in preserving a good record and avoiding a negative public record that is ofter viewed unfavorably by employers, the government, and employers was obtained. The State (here I will lump the State of Maryland and the Judiciary together) was able to subject the Defendant to a tongue lashing, a fine, and a strict probation to ”insure” no repeat offense without potential negative consequences. In theory and in hope, the Defendant will change his behavior and never drive this fast again and the public will be safer. Each side has had a significant interest satisfied.
Author’s Note: This theory and hoped for result did not work for the undersigned. In 1968 I was stopped for (allegedly) travelling 110mph early in the morning on a near empty interstate in Alabama coming back from the Mardi Gras wearing beads (this was the sixties, folks, and guys did not wear beads in the sixties, especially in Alabama early in the morning). I told the State Trooper that I played football for Clemson (in South Carolina), but our school certainly recognized that Bear Bryant (the Alabama football coach who could have run for Governor and won hands down any time)was clearly the greatest football coach of all time and that we were lucky to only have to play Alabama every few years. With God as the mediator, I received a warning ticket. I proudly displayed it on my dorm room wall and began thinking that a career in law might work for me. The career has worked fine, but unfortunately I have picked up some State issued paperwork while driving too fast. That paperwork is not proudly displayed on my walls.
BREAKING NEWS: I can personally verify that in Maryland under Transportation Article, section 21-810, you can get a $40 civil fine for speeding in a work zone (and a free color photo of the rear end of your car) by going exactly 13 mph in excess of the speed limit at night in light traffic, going with the flow, not texting, listening to politically correct radio shows when NO ONE is working. Do the math: four tickets at $40 each issued per minute, times 60 minutes in an hour, times 24 hours in a day, times 365 days in a year, EQUALS no NEED to ever raise any more taxes again-EVER!!!! How can the government spend money faster than I drive?#@&^%$&!!!!!! Can I invest in one of those speed cameras? I could make Bernie Madoff look like he ran a lemonade stand. Speaking of billing, don’t you think the State of Maryland should just bill me by the hour for my time spent on the road? What value has it provided to me by their flat rate billing plan? And-no price discrimination? All citizens pay the same amount regardless of the ability to pay? They should let Regal Cinemas help them out with their marketing. Charge a different price based on the age of the driver, the time they use the road (matinee road time), and then charge a big fat fee if they want popcorn and soda in Court. A quart of soda is $5.00, so a gallon of soda would be $20. Think of that the next time you are at the gas pump….gas is relatively cheap.
Erase from your mind any prejudgment you might have about Alec Baldwin, his ex-wife, or lawyers in general so you can read this with an open mind.(Nota Bene-There is a difference between having an open mind and having a hole in your head). You may recall Alec Baldwin’s leaked angry voicemail that he left for his 11 year old daughter. Please read this excerpt from his book: A Promise to Ourselves (2008), at page 185:
“During the proceeding in June, [my ex-wife's lawyer] Hersh brandished a letter of apology that I had sent to my daughter and plopped in front of me in the witness box. The letter had been torn in half, presumably by my daughter. In order to put his signature touch on this, Hersh bent over to arrange the severed pieces of paper to form a recognizable whole. Right to the end, Hersh, one of the most malicious human beings I have ever encountered, never missed an opportunity to “advocate” on behalf of the truly angry litigant. Their goal was to show that my daughter did not want to see me again. More than $3 million in joint legal fees had been spent. In my mind, all of it was a buildup to this; so that Hersh and his client could have the pleasure of sticking that letter in my face”. [emphasis supplied].
I am assuming Alec and his ex-wife paid their respective lawyers by the hour, but I have no facts to support my assumption, other than such arrangement is by far the most prevalent. I will bet you that Alec Baldwin and his ex-wife would, in retrospect, have eagerly engaged in a conversation with his/her lawyer at the beginning of the matter where a fixed fee would have been agreed upon. One wonders whether the Baldwin’s joint legal fees would have hit $3 million with a value billing approach. Might there have been a different outcome? Might the lawyers and clients behaved differently? Would the Baldwin’s have been willing up front to agree to invest this significant sum for the results obtained? Would the Baldwin’s, in retrospect, say that they would gladly do this all over again because they were happy with the result and the price was fair?