Tuesday, March 13, 2021

Colorado Bar Ethics Opinion: take two pinches of salt and feel better in the morning

The ethics committee of the Colorado State Bar Association has issued an opinion regarding the ethics of collaborative law, which has generated widespread criticism for its unsound reasoning and internal contradictions. It has also been faulted for unsubstantiated and inaccurate but sweeping generalizations about the nature of collaborative practice.

Practitioners and clients alike should take the Colorado opinion with a healthy grain of salt. It is non-binding, even in Colorado, and prevents no lawyer or client even in Colorado from electing collaborative legal representation. The opinion stands alone in its obvious hostility to collaborative legal practice--and in its faulty reasoning. All other ethics opinions to date have supported the informed choice of collaborative law.

Practitioners should note that the Commission on Uniform Laws is presently considering a model Collaborative Law statute. North Carolina, Texas, and California already have statutes in place recognizing collaborative law.

The International Academy of Collaborative Professionals has recently announced appointment of an Ethics Task Force, chaired by Pauline Tesler. The Task Force plans to issue a White Paper on the ethics of collaborative practice sometime later this year.

Meanwhile, for a point-by-point critique of the Colorado opinion, see John Crouch's posting on the Family Law Blog: