The International Association of Collaborative Professionals (IACP) has been nominated for the 2023 Nobel Peace Prize. The nomination cites IACP’s efforts in transforming the way families resolve conflict around the world by offering an alternative to litigation, a conflict resolution model called Collaborative Practice, or Collaborative Divorce. The remarkable nomination shines a spotlight on Collaborative Practice, and on a group of Hudson Valley lawyers active within IACP that founded the first interdisciplinary collaborative association in New York State more than 20 years ago.
In January of 2001, Dutchess County Attorney Kathryn Lazar, a partner at Lazar, Schwartz & Jones, along with Attorney Daniel McCabe and four other local professionals, traveled to Phoenix for the first national training in Collaborative Divorce, offered by a newly formed international organization called IACP. The organization was promoting a new idea – an interdisciplinary out-of-court process that could assist divorcing couples in a peaceful and respectful separation, without litigation.
Lazar and McCabe went on to found The Hudson Valley Collaborative Divorce and Dispute Resolution Association (HVCDDRA) in 2001, which became the first such association in New York State. Today, Kathryn Lazar, Esq., Dan McCabe, Esq. and Tracy Badgley, CPA, remain directors of the association. Brett Jones, a partner in Hopewell Junction-based law firm Lazar, Schwartz & Jones, serves as Co-Chair of the association.
As early adopters of the collaborative model, members of the Hudson Valley-based association have been selected to conduct training sessions at annual meetings of the IACP. Kathryn Lazar has presented trainings for the New York State Judicial Institute, and at international meetings held in Atlanta, Toronto, San Diego, San Francisco, Washington DC, Minneapolis, Vancouver BC, San Antonio, Chicago, and Las Vegas, among other locations. Kathryn Lazar and Micki McWade, a social worker member of the HVCDDRA, have also provided trainings in the Netherlands and in Scotland. Kathryn has also served as a member of the Training Standards Committee of IACP.
The Internationally renowned Nobel Peace Prize was first stipulated to be awarded to the person “who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.” Since 1901, its significance has evolved and been awarded in recognition of many kinds of peace work and concepts of peace that aim to create a more organized and peaceful world.
While acknowledging that IACP might face long odds to win the 2023 award, given so many worthy individuals and organizations striving for peace internationally, Kathryn Lazar commented, “This nomination reminds us that peace can begin at home. It’s my hope that the nomination will expand awareness of the value of Collaborative Practice and encourage couples who are considering separating to explore this option.”
Collaborative Practice is a unique and voluntary dispute resolution model which provides families the opportunity to reduce the negative impacts of separation by working proactively and cooperatively with teams of specially trained Collaborative legal, financial, and mental health professionals who educate, support, and guide couples to make their own lasting and respectful resolutions, without resorting to litigation or the intervention of judges, magistrates, or court personnel.
As a global nonprofit organization with a longstanding history as the largest community of Collaborative Professionals, IACP works every day to create a more peaceful world. With members in over 28 countries, IACP protects the fundamental elements of Collaborative Practice, expands accessibility to Collaborative Practice worldwide, and serves as a central resource for education, networking, and standards of practice for practitioners around the world.
Locally, Hudson Valley residents can learn more about Collaborative Practice in a variety of ways. Lazar, Schwartz & Jones and its affiliated MHMediation practice offer a free live Zoom presentation each month, titled “Divorce 101,” which outlines the differences between litigation, mediation and collaboration and offers time for questions from participants. The next presentation is scheduled for January 17, 2023 at 4:00pm. Those interested in obtaining a link to the presentation can contact Lynn Servay at Lazar, Schwartz, & Jones at 845-896-9651. More information is also available at www.mhmediation.com with additional background on collaborative practice at https://explore.collabdivorce-ny.com/