Yesterday I had another unsolicited resume sent in by an attorney who was interested in Seattle Divorce Services specifically because he really liked the way we resolve family law issues. In fact, several of our recent hires have been attorneys who wanted to leave their firms and join us primarily because they wanted to practice law in a more positive way, reducing conflict rather than creating it. It feels good when other attorneys start to recognize our firm for our core values.
One of the first things we ask new attorneys at our firm to do is to take mediation and Collaborative training. Even in their litigation cases, we believe these dispute resolution skills help them work with opposing counsels and get better resolutions with less conflict.
Not too long ago one of our attorneys came to me to let me know about her “new best friend”. She was starting a new case with an attorney with a reputation for being very difficult. Our attorney set out to use some of her Collaborative skills even though this was NOT a Collaborative case. She spoke to the other attorney like a friend rather than an adversary, asked questions about what was important to the other client rather than only talking about her own client, and made it clear she wanted to open a genuine dialog rather than simply make demands. The other attorney responded very well to this more cooperative approach, and they had a very positive and constructive conversation. Afterward, our attorney was almost speechless (she’ll never be entirely speechless) at how much difference this change in approach made.