Spotlight on Pro Bono: Collaborative Law Institute of Illinois (CLII) Brings Collaborative Process to Modest Means Illinoisans
By Sandra Crawford, JD
In 2018, Illinois formally recognized the collaborative law model of dispute resolution with the enactment of legislation and the adoption of Supreme Court Rule – 750 ILSC 5/90 and Rule 294, respectively. The history of this model of limited scope representation or unbundled legal services starts back in 1990 in Minnesota.
In 1990, a Minnesota litigator, Stu Webb, the “godfather” of the collaborative model, wrote in his journal, “what if I just announce on January 1, 1990, I will no longer take any cases to court?
I will participate as a counsel only as long as the parties are working on settlement and I will withdraw if anyone seeks court orders.” In 1993, California attorney Pauline Tesler, the “godmother” of the model, heard about Stu Webb’s inspired technique for putting “all the professional eggs in the settlement basket and rendering threats to take matters to court pointless as a negotiation technique.” Tesler and Webb then worked with family psychologist Peggy Thompson to offer professional collaborative skills trainings worldwide. In 2009, the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals (IACP) was formed and started hosting yearly forums around the United States and bi-annual international educational institutes to help support and train professionals and promote the model to the public. In 2001, five Illinois professionals (four lawyers and one mental health professional) traveled to Wisconsin to be trained in collaborative law, and in 2002 started the Collaborative Law Institute of Illinois (CLII).
In 2019, the model will see further growth in Illinois with the extension of services to modest means communities. Also, in October 2019, the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals will gather in Chicago from 25 countries to celebrate its 20th year anniversary and the history and growth of this model, which promotes respectful and peaceful outcomes for families facing separation and divorce.
Modest Means Collaborative Divorce Program
This program provides collaborative divorce services at a significantly reduced fee to those who qualify on the basis of income. Services are provided by attorneys, divorce coaches, and financial neutrals who are CLII Fellows and have volunteered to participate in the program.
For more information about how to apply, visit the Collaborative Law Institute of Illinois’ website.