When a Lawyer Advises Against a Participation Agreement because he
"Settles Most of His Cases, but not always with a participation
agreement" ask Three Essential Questions
- Why are you hesitant or unwilling to committing to withdraw if you are not
able to control the process in a manner to allow settlement that will
satisfy me, my children and my spouse now and into the future so that we do
not have to go through the process every year or so?
- Yes, but I understand that 98% of all cases are settled. So the fact that
you settle most cases is really just stating you are average. What about
your settlements am I supposed to view as significant? For example,
- Did you obtain them before your clients spent thousands of dollars in
adversarial litigation or was it under the threat of a looming trial
- Was the quality of the settlement such that the parties never returned
to the court to make changes to the Settlement?
- If you contend that I will be more satisfied with the results of a
settlement you obtain through litigation than I would in a format where
I had and executed Participation Agreement and absolute veto power over
every decision, will you take my case back to court free of charge every
time I want to make a change to the agreement?
- Do you have one reference, one former client, who found their contested
family matter to be a positive experience-regardless of the legal outcome?
If the attorney is willing to guarantee you that litigation is the superior
process option for you, get it in writing and run with it! I'll direct you to a
legal malpractice attorney when the time is right. On a more serious note, I
constantly hear stories of attorneys who apparently tell their clients, "I
practice all of my cases collaboratively; I just don't always sign a
participation agreement". I assume these people have not attended adequate
training and therefore do not understand the significance of the participation
agreement that provides the level of safety needed for the parties to proceed
The fact is, Stu Webb, the Minnesota attorney often referred to as the
"Founder of Collaborative Process" long ago learned by experience that
a Participation Agreement is actually essential to the process. Listen to Stu
Webb address these and other related issues.