Collaborative Cousins: Meet Elaine Silver!

As part of our NEW newsletter, we will include a column introducing a member from one of our sister collaborative law groups. This week, our generous contributor is Elaine Silver, Esq., from Collaborative Family Law Group of Central Florida.

  1. Name and local collaborative organization:

My name is Elaine Silver, and I collaborate with the Collaborative Family Law Group of Central Florida.

2. Your profession:

I am a collaborative attorney and certified family law mediator.

3. How long have you practiced collaborative family law:

My first collaborative case was in 2008, but I was a member of the Central Florida group since its founding.  I worked on our first web site.

4. When was your collaborative law group founded:

About 2005.

5. What make your organization unique from other collaborative law groups in the state?  

We are among the oldest and largest groups in the state.  We have almost 100 paid members across all 3 disciplines. We have had  amazing founders and leadership team since the inception who have committed themselves fully to “changing the culture of divorce in Central Florida.”  The creation of the Barry University School Of Law Collaborative class and clinic by our founding leadership, along with a regular basic training offered in conjunction with the Clinic and open to the professional community has been among the drivers of our growth. 

6.  What challenges does your local organization face:  

We are transitioning our leadership away from the founding members, and that’s always a challenging time for organizations. 

7.  Why should WFCL members get involved at the FACP level?    

To meet like-minded practitioners from around the state, to share ideas, learn and grow our collaborative practices.  No sense “reinventing the wheel” when we can share good ideas. 

8.  Why should WFCL members attend the FACP conference in May?  

To be inspired, to learn, to go home impassioned to start fresh on Monday bringing peace to your community. And to experience the historic and beautiful Biltmore Hotel (and golf course—if you’re a golfer) and all that Miami has to offer. The conference ends early Saturday afternoon, so you’ll have lots of time to explore. My personal favorite—the new Perez, right on the water.  

 Early bird registration for the conference ends April 13, so REGISTER NOW

9.  Have you used collaborative methods in practice areas, other than family law?  

Yes, Collaborative process—especially the concept of option-building—informs my mediations, my non-collaborative settlement conversations, every meeting with my clients, my organizations’ meetings, even my home life.  It’s a great tool to use in challenging conversations of all kinds. 

10.  What advice do you have for someone considering collaborative methods in their practice?

Abraham Maslow, the famous psychologist (Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs), said, “If the only tool you have is a hammer, then every problem looks like a nail.”

Its time we stopped treating clients like nails.  

Over 85% of all family case litigants are pro se. We’re putting ourselves out of business by clinging to the expensive and time consuming traditional litigation model. Why not explore Collaborative Practice—better for the practitioner, better for clients, families, the community, the world – the collaborative model offers peace.  

Consider that less than 5% of all cases are ultimately decided by judges. Why spend all that time pretending that a judge will decide the case. Why not engage clients in problem solving from day one.

11.  Any final comments?  

Among the tools that Collaborative Practice offers is respectfully curiosity. Ask clients questions that include:  

If you couldn’t hire me to fix this problem, what would you do?  What if I said I can guide you to a solution that YOU and your spouse create?

Clients have spent their entire lives as autonomous humans who have solved problems on their own. Don’t let them buy into the myth of thinking the court system has a magical fix that will definitely be on their side—we know it doesn’t. We must help clients help themselves.

Network with Elaine:

Elaine Silver is a collaborative family law attorney and family law mediator from Orlando, Florida.

Silver Divorce

 Linked In