Opened in 2014, The Barry University Collaborative Law Clinic is only the second of its type in the country. Couples sign a Collaborative Participation Agreement, the heart of which is that they agree not to litigate in court and to be fully transparent with all information.
Through the collaborative process, parties agree to make decisions together, with support from their team of professionals, rather than allowing a court to make decisions for them. Should the process end without an agreement, the team withdraws from the case.
The second and third year law students and professionals who would work their case complete a two-day introductory training in collaborative law before the semester begins.
During the actual collaborative meetings, the students take the lead. They prepare all the documents for the meetings. They speak to and prepare the clients on what to expect. Mentor attorneys attend the full-team meeting and provide the necessary legal support for clients during those meetings.
Each attorney prepares with their client prior to the meeting, and the professionals meet 30 minutes before and after each meeting.
The entire process is driven by the clients and their needs. The foundation and strength of the clinic is to offer low-income families an opportunity to have the benefit of a full collaborative team so that they can create the best outcome possible for their family.1