November 29, 2012

Ohio Legislature Formalizes Collaborative Lawyering

By Sarah Cole

The Ohio Senate yesterday ratified a bill related to the use of collaborative lawyering. The bill, which formalizes the procedure and mandates confidentiality for the process, is a positive step toward increasing the use of CL in resolving disputes throughout Ohio. A copy of the bill can be found here: http://www.legislature.state.oh.us/bills.cfm?ID=129_HB_461 The Ohio House must still reconcile its bill and the Senate bill, but things look very good for collaborative law in Ohio.

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Comments

  • Krysten Harris says:

    Personally, I am glad to see the interest in legislating collaborative law. This means the process is being used more often. In my ADR class in law school we have learned that there are several benefits to this alternative process. The biggest benefit to court system stems from the focus on collaboration. The process typically encourages settlement by taking court/litigation out of the picture. This makes the process less adversarial and in turn less stressful for lawyers and clients because both parties are there to come to an agreement and not hold the threat of court action over their opponent’s head. The hopeful outcome will leave both client and lawyers in better health from the lack of stress, as well as leave the clients with a more positive view of the justice system. Both of these could prove to be beneficial to the court system in Ohio for obvious reasons.

  • Daniel Penaranda says:

    While formalizing transparency and mandating confidentiality is a positive step in collaborative law, the bill does not offer greater solutions for family law disputants. The institution already in place and the history of collaborative law, especially because of Ohio’s higher usage rates, include a great deal of what is now being formalized by the Ohio Senate. The fact remains that the quality collaborative law providers in Ohio will continue to provide that service to those that can afford its often more expensive use. The crux of DR innovation is the freedom of the on the ground participant in the process to see the flaws and enact change. If formalization of the processes becomes the norm, bills that are not reactive to DR trends may hamper the ability of those in the legal system to have robust options.

  • Willie Gillis Jr. says:

    While a step in the right direction, I can’t see it being terribly successful in Ohio. The bill only allows for family law collaborative lawyering. I personally have yet to see a “nice divorce.” It would seem to me that most divorces that are amicable would just go the route of an uncontested divorce with both parties just having a lawyer review their agreement.

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