The origin of Collaborative Practice
The story of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals starts with the founder of the Collaborative movement: Stu Webb, from Minneapolis, Minnesota. Stu had been practising traditional family law for more than twenty years when, at the end of the late 1980s, he became interested in mediation and alternative dispute resolutions. Stu's challenge was to find a way to bring the special talent of lawyers as problem solvers into a process of "agreement/consultation" for family law. Stu envisaged a model whereby lawyers could not go to court under any circumstance whatsoever. If the option of going to court was absent in a dispute, lawyers would have no other choice but to address the challenge of solving a problem by agreement.
The Collaborative Practice was set up from this understanding. In 1990, Stu informed his clients and colleagues that he would no longer go to court; he would only continue to represent clients in a collaborative negotiation process, exclusively focused on creative solutions. If the process did not result in an agreement between the parties, Stu would refer his clients to another lawyer to have the dispute adjudicated in the traditional manner and he would then withdraw from the process.
This is the origin of the collaborative divorce and collaborative practice. Since 2008, we have also embraced this in the Netherlands. We now call this collaborative divorce and collaborative practice. The exclusion of going to court is essential in this respect. We are thankful to Stu Webb for initiating this movement.