FAQ > Alternative Dispute Resolution Q&A > What is collaborative law? How does it differ from mediation?

Collaborative law is a dispute resolution process in which both parties to the dispute retain separate, specially-trained lawyers whose only job is to help them settle the dispute. In collaborative law, each attorney has a legally mandated responsibility to make it their first priority to protect their own client’s interests.

On the other hand, in mediation, the mediator creates a neutral space for the exploration and resolution of issues to all parties’ satisfaction. Because mediators are not representing either party, they are free to have private meetings with each side when it is helpful, and to engage in shuttle diplomacy if that will further the progress of the negotiations. Mediators have a range of options not available to the lawyer with a client.