This first testimonial is a special one, and is something I loudly and proudly want to share. That these kind words come from the “other” party from whom my client was seeking a divorce, speaks volumes about the true value of the collaborative approach to resolving conflict:

“I greatly appreciate the quality of the attention you brought to our affairs. I was impressed that you took the trouble to get to know me (by seeing my personal film) which quelled a lot of my uneasiness about the process. I also appreciate the sense of direction you brought to the negotiations, for acknowledging and honouring both our needs. Your clients are indeed lucky to have you in their camp! Thanks again for the warm wishes and wishing you all the best in life and work in the years ahead.”
– The Spouse of a Collaborative Client

“I am in my new place in Oshawa now and I am working hard and regaining myself. This is the first time in a very long time I feel good about a lot of things. I still have bouts of feeling down but not as much as I did, I feel like I am smiling more and it feels good. I was even asked out on a date! Flattering and unexpected. But I guess it shows that I am making progress in terms of self confidence.

I hope you are doing well Ellen, and I cannot express enough how appreciative I am to you with the support you have given me in many ways. You are a wonderful and very compassionate person and I truly believe if I didn’t work with you on any of this including my personal issues that you also listened to, I would be in a very different place today mentally and physically. It chokes me up thinking about it, but I think it is prudent that you know how much this has all meant to me and that no matter what bad days you may also have, that I hope my words may contribute to giving you the boost you may need to get through a day when you need it. I truly hope you never give up on people and remain the person and maintain the compass you’ve shown me no matter what people throw at you.”

– A Collaborative Practice Client

A recent client — a singer/songwriter — received and shared with me some very positive reviews of his latest folk album. He also shared this lovely message:

“I guess a lot of creativity can come from those very difficult times.

Can’t thank you enough for guiding me through all of that.

The kids are doing great and we are finally co-parenting peacefully.”

– A Collaborative Practice Client

Here is another message from the spouse of one of my clients. These notes are important reminders that a collaborative solution to these challenging processes requires, well… collaboration from all parties:

I regret that you will no longer be a part of this process with us. I found you to be a woman of integrity and that gave me hope that you would be able to guide the process from your end in an ethical manner. It was a pleasure to have met you and I can only hope that whomever (my husband) retains, works in a manner similar to you and that he is able to make good choices.

I wish you all the best,

(the wife)

And these kind words — valuable and appreciated in their own right — are from personal clients:

“Thank you Ellen not only for reducing this final payment given my financial status, but also for her ongoing professionalism, support, and compassion throughout this process.”
– A Collaborative Practice Client

“My colleague is in the early stages of a separation and needs to talk to a pro. I told him the same thing I tell everyone who asks – it’s no fun and I’m sorry and find a lawyer whose clients end up in a good place. Your fingerprints are now on 3 different divorces in my life, and all of them are among the most harmonious, mature post-divorce relationships I’ve seen. That’s no coincidence.”
– A Collaborative Practice Client

“I left yesterday’s meeting exhausted, but very grateful for your support and patience as we define what separation means for us individually, as parents, and as friends. It’s obvious that you all work well together, and having the separation process be about continuing to help each other rather than negotiation contract clauses makes me very glad we chose a collaborative process. I’m also grateful that you’ve been able to accommodate our bizarre geography and schedule needs.

Obviously we have a long way to go still, but I feel like we started in a strong way. I’m confident now that we will end up with a separation that we can be proud of, just as I remain proud of the marriage we had.”

Thank you all so much,

– A Collaborative Practice Client

“Thanks Ellen for keeping me together.

– A Collaborative Practice Client

“I just wanted to say thanks for taking me on as a client. Your combination of friendliness and professionalism made me feel immediately at ease, and I came away with a sense that I’m in good hands.”
– A Collaborative Practice Client

“I do want to say that your heartfelt warmth and kindness and focus on our priorities (our kids) was very much appreciated and I thank you for your guidance.”
– A Collaborative Practice Client

“I can’t express the relief I feel having this process complete or the gratitude I have for you for taking care of it. Again, thank you so much and best wishes.”
– L.S.F.

“Thank you for all the good work you are doing. I think you are settling things down really well and have had a very positive effect on the entire process.”
– A Collaborative Practice Client

“I am writing to express my gratitude for the services you have provided for my divorce, and through this very difficult time. As well, a special thank you to your legal assistant who has always been available for any questions I had and her prompt answers. You and your team are a model of efficiency and reliability.”
– A Collaborative Practice Client

“I retained Ellen’s services for a difficult separation with my ex-wife. At the time of writing, Ellen is the Chair of the board for collaborative practice lawyers. She really knows her stuff. She has always been extremely prompt with responding to my emails and phone call questions and has been of fantastic help during this process. This is the first time I have had to retain a lawyer for a protracted amount of time. She is a very good lawyer, professional and helpful. I was referred to her by my co-worker – his ex-wife retained Ellen. I would also recommend her to anyone.”
– A Collaborative Practice Client

“Ellen was a supportive and respectful presence throughout a difficult time. It was clear from the beginning that she was both knowledgeable and truly invested in my case and I felt very comfortable putting my trust in her. Thank you Ellen!”
– A Collaborative Practice Client

“Ellen was very helpful and made a difficult situation much easier to cope with. She was very accommodating and willing to meet me whenever and wherever to be flexible, due to my situation. The most important thing to me, which I was absolutely clear about with Ellen at our very first meeting, was obtained. I am forever grateful for the compassion that she showed and the professionalism she portrayed. I felt like my options were set out in front of me and that once a decision was made she supported me with them and we were able to have open and honest discussions about my choices. I would recommend her to anyone in my situation. She understood my urgency to get a resolution and did the best she could do to speed things up given an uncooperative other party. Thanks Ellen!”
– A Client in Traditional Negotiations

“Thank you very much for all of your help and support over the last year. As you know it’s been an extremely difficult year for me in many regards, and I have felt well taken care of by you throughout this process. I am also eternally grateful for your infinite patience with deferment of my reimbursement for your services.”
– A Collaborative Practice Client

“BIG thanks for guiding me through a long, emotional day Friday. Interesting how we can look back at these moments and be appreciative of the little things that are so meaningful. It will be a day I will always remember – for the time shared with such wonderful women who guided me with love, strength and grace. Thank you for gently reminding me who I was, and what I wanted, when I got stuck. Thank you for helping me to create a process that felt more in line with the experience I hoped for. More when I see you in person but I wanted to express my gratitude.”
– A Lawyer-assisted Mediation Client