Adding Cooperative Practice to the ADR Toolkit, Part Four

From Gini Nelson’s Blog Engaging Conflicts

lande-photo1.jpgThis is one of Guest Blogger Law Professor John Lande’s posts in his series “Adding Cooperative Practice to the ADR Toolkit”. His Introduction is posted here. [Earlier Parts to the series are posted here: Part One, Part Two, Part Three]

Part Four: The Divorce Cooperation Institute And How DCI Lawyers Do Cooperative Practice.

The last part of this blog [Part 6] describes why the ADR field should add Cooperative Practice to the “ADR toolkit.” This part describes how lawyers can add it to your own practices. Mediators should also be interested because Cooperative Practice often involves mediation when people have difficulty resolving disputes.

Lawyers interested in offering Cooperative Practice may use or adapt DCI’s approach, as appropriate. Although DCI uses the process only in divorce cases, it can be readily adapted in other types of cases.

DCI members normally use an explicit process agreement at the outset. The agreement requires people to: (1) act civilly, (2) respond promptly to reasonable requests for information, (3) disclose all relevant financial information, (4) obtain joint expert opinions before obtaining individual expert opinions, (5) obtain expert input before requesting a custody study or appointment of a guardian ad litem, and (5) negotiate in good faith to reach fair compromises based on valid information. Here’s the full version of DCI’s principles.

DCI members value Cooperative Practice because they can tailor the process to the parties’ needs. In Cooperative cases, they use many of the elements in Collaborative Practice – such as commitment to full disclosure of relevant information, four-way meetings, joint experts, and individual coaches. Many DCI members – including many who use Collaborative Practice – find Collaborative process to be too formal and rigid and believe that it sometimes involves more of these process elements than needed. DCI members report using them only as needed in Cooperative cases and so they believe that a Cooperative process generally produces good outcomes as efficiently as possible.

For more information about my study of Cooperative Practice in Wisconsin, click here.

John’s series will continue later this week with “How Cooperative Negotiation Is Different From Negotiation In Litigation”.


Gini Nelson

Gini Nelson is a sole practitioner in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Her practice emphasizes private dispute resolution, including distance dispute resolution, and domestic, bankruptcy and bankruptcy avoidance law. MORE >

Featured Mediators

View all

Read these next


Max Schrems strikes again! Where next for Mediation Service Providers and their mediators?

This blog discusses the case known as Schrems II and provides practical advice to ADR Service Providers (ASPs) and ADR Neutrals about how to manage the fall-out. Judgment was handed...

By Tony Guise

I Know It’s Not My Problem-But It Happened On My Watch

It is at some risk that I set out to promote my expertise in the area of what to do when mediation ends in disagreement. Nevertheless, I dread those times...

By Geoff Sharp

An Alternative Approach to Pre-Mediation Discovery

Revised and updated from an article first published in the San Francisco Daily Journal Every litigator knows that a lawsuit takes on its own life and timeline. Well-informed clients know...

By Malcolm Sher, Esq

Find a Mediator