The special power that Collaborative Practice has to spark creative conflict resolution seems to happen only when the lawyers and the clients are all pulling together in the same direction, to solve the same problems in the same way. If the lawyers can still consider unilateral resort to the courts as a fallback option, their thought process does not become transformed; their creativity is actually crippled by the availability of Court and conventional trials. Only when everyone knows that it is up to the four of them and only the four of them to “think their way” to a solution, or else the process fails and the lawyers are out of the picture, does the special “hypercreativity” of Collaborative Practice get triggered. At the moment when each person realizes that solving both clients’ problems is the responsibility of all four participants, that is the moment when the “magic” can happen.
Collaborative Practice is not just two lawyers who like each other, or who agree to “behave nicely.” It is a special technique that demands special talents and procedures in order to work as promised.
Any effort by parties and their lawyers to resolve disputes cooperatively and outside court is to be encouraged, but only Collaborative Practice is Collaborative Practice.