In this video, Mary Ann shares with us her view on the collaborative movement.
MARY ANN HESS: I am Mary Ann Hess, and I am the managing member of Folks Hess Kass. I’ve been an attorney for 24 years. I was trained in family law, but very much from a litigation mode. And it wasn’t until about 10 years ago that I learned about collaborative law and have devoted a substantial portion of my practice to collaborative law.
And my exposure to collaborative law was different probably than most people. Because I was in a litigation firm, we spent our days litigating a lot of times over bad debt, breach of contract, somebody who just doesn’t do something that they wanted. And in 2007 in the height of the great recession, my family law clients were coming to me with issues that you would see one or two times in a case. But in these particular cases, you were seeing all the issues: the loss of a house, the loss of a job, the loss of all your retirement savings, your family network having those same losses and not being able to help you.
And it was at that time that the collaborative law movement really focused on how to help families go forward when they had all of those issues hitting at the same time. And one of the things that I find most beneficial for my clients is the ability to use a financial neutral expert to help them analyze their issues and figure out a way with the parties, with their lawyers about how they can manage a relaunch in just some overwhelming situations.