Thank God for Collaborative Lawyers! by Don Sinkov{2:48 minutes to read} Collaborative law has been around since the 90s. It was initially marketed as something like mediation, but often clients call me and say they have been to collaborative lawyers; you know, mediators who are lawyers. That is totally wrong.

The other day I had lunch with a principal in a law firm, and I said, “You practice family law, but I’m sure some of your clients would benefit from mediation. I’m thinking I could offer divorce mediation to your clients, and you and your law firm can do the legal paperwork and filings.” I further explained, “It would go like this: I’ll write a memorandum after the clients agree to terms. You write the Settlement Agreement and file the judgement in court.

This attorney responded with, “We don’t need you, because we have an attorney who is a trained  mediator. He handles all our work, so we would not need your services.

Okay, so you know I immediately Googled the attorney’s name. He is a litigator, with no mediation experience or credentials, but claims he is mediating divorce cases. As it turns out, his work as a “mediator” has become one of my best sources for referrals. This month alone I’ve had 3 clients that had tried collaborative law with this attorney, and when it failed, came to mediation. Every one of them said,”Oh my god, this is so much better! The collaborative lawyers were handling things like a litigation case. It was not what they told us it would be.”

Collaborative law is a very different process. It is not mediation. Does it ever work? Yes, it does, sometimes, but the costs are always greater than mediation.

If your goal is to work together with your soon-to-be separated/divorced spouse—to create a Settlement Agreement that’s fair to you both without all the posturing, arguing, and time it usually takes when attorneys are communicating back and forth—then perhaps mediation is something you might want to consider.

After all, collaborative law has only been around since the 1990s. Mediation has been used in settling disputes by many cultures around the world for thousands of years.

About Don Sinkov

Don Sinkov Your Divorce Mediator Westchester County, NY Putnam County, NY Phone: (914) 588-6258 eMail: