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Collaborative law-Deusto University





The 13th and 14th of November took place at Deusto University in Bilbao the course “Training in Collaborative Law”

Conversation between student volunteers at Deusto Business School in Bilbao:

“-¿What are you up to?

-In the Training of Cooperative Law”

Yet the truth is that it was a course of COLLABORATIVE LAW organized by Deusto University and the Basque Association of Collaborative Law, with the support of the Basque Government.

Even though there is still confusion on its name and many people asks what do we mean by Collaborative Law, it increasingly occupies more conversations, discussions and law firms in our country.

 Collaborative Law landed in our country a couple of years ago from the U.S. It is a dispute resolution method in which lawyers renounce to go to court, in order to reach an agreement through negotiations, with the parties and the neutral experts. This method, which comes to re-define advocacy, requires specific training in the process itself and in negotiation.

 Under the wing of the spread and training of this method, the course “Basic Training on Collaborative Law”, was organized, with theoretical and practical sessions, the 13th and 14th of November. The course was aimed at professional new to collaborative law and at those professionals who have already had their own experiences as collaborative lawyers. The idea of sharing practices, café and discussion with professionals with diverse “collaborative background” was an opportunity to find not only new answers but also new questions.

Perhaps people were not aware, but many of the professionals aiming to apply social innovation in dispute resolution in our country where in the same auditorium.

More than 50 attendees had the opportunity to learn from local and international professionals, to take a multidisciplinary view, as the process itself:

– Paul Faxon, Lawyer, and Linda Cohan, Coach, work colleagues in Masschussets and travel companions this time to explain Collaborative Law through their experience. The course was also attended by Paul Rolland, a French lawyer from the construction industry, who contributed with his valuable experience in the corporate world.

                In these two years in which our country has become an “emerging community” of Collaborative Law, we have already generated experiences and perspectives worth sharing. For that reason Ana Armesto Campo, Amancio Plaza Vazquez, Christian Lamm, Carmen Azcunaga, Maria José de Anitua and Carmen Aja Ruiz have also participated.

            Three ideas more repeated in a Collaborative Law training where of course treated, but this time from a more rewarding approach:

            The renounce to go to courts As Paul Faxon explained, one of the key moments of the process is when informing the client that in collaborative law he will be represented only within the negotiations, and the lawyer renounce to represent him in court. This means that in case they do not reach an agreement, the lawyer cannot bring an action before courts. One can wonder how to explain and transmit this idea to the client without transmitting the idea of a negative hurdle? Paul´s answer is simple: “ we must showcase our work as collaborative lawyers in relation with the process: the lawyer is focused on negotiations and on reaching agreements”.

            How to be a collaborative lawyer .The paradigm shift for the lawyer passes through the relationship with his client, with the lawyer of the other party and with the other party. It must be understood that the collaborative process seeks synergies among different professionals. This can only be achieved with constant preparation of negotiations. This enables to find the famous “momentum” as Paul Faxon said, where collaboration flows and agreements can be achieved: “represent your client, collaborate with the other party”.

            Tailored process for the client. The professionals involved in the process, the negotiations and the agreements finally reached: are aligned with the needs of the client. We must not lose sight that it is a process where the client is the absolute protagonist. Therefore, the process is flexible according to the needs of the client.

This sort of trainings within and out the Basque Country, are a reality thanks to the voluntary work of many professionals, and the invaluable support of the Basque Government´s Director of Justice, Manuel Valín. He also closed the event, together with the president of ADCE, Maria José Anitua supporting once again collaborative law as a method of social pacification, with the objective of making Euskadi an international referent in its implementation, through the pilot projects in which they are working, in collaboration with the Basque Administration which, as Manuel Valin Announced, from 2016 is pretended to carry out a training through IVAP to civil servants.


            COLLABORATIVE LAW has come to stay, and the seminar in Deusto was a clear evidence of it.


Carmen Aja Ruiz.

Madrid Association of Collaborative Law.