We are Peacemakers
At the Price Law Firm, we have chosen to be peacemakers, which is very different from the way law schools prepare lawyers for practicing law.
We prefer to help people find peaceful solutions to difficult and emotional issues. Having been through thousands of cases, with way too many court battles, we are well aware of how litigation works and how expensive and destructive it can be. Thankfully, there are alternatives.
Collaborative Law is a great alternative for divorce and I have become a real evangelist for the process. As a divorce attorney in Fort Worth, I spend a lot of time talking to lawyers, potential clients, therapists and others about the benefits of the process. Collaborative Law won’t work for everyone and really can’t be used unless both attorneys are specially trained in the process, but it can be great for people who are open minded. It’s a way to deal with difficult issues privately in a respectful, safe environment where the parties are encouraged and assisted in coming up with creative solutions.
Mediation is a healthy and productive way to resolve issues. Unfortunately, in Texas, it most often takes place late in the litigation process, frequently just before a trial. Still, it is much better than just taking your chances in trial.
With Attorneys. We can do caucus-style (most common in Texas) with the parties and their attorneys. Our office is well set up for that with two large conference rooms. In caucus-style, each side stays in a different room and the parties are not in the same room together during the process. That is more comfortable for many people.
Without Attorneys. We also can do mediation with just the parties, without attorneys, for people doing their own divorce. We do have to remain neutral, cannot give advice and cannot prepare the papers following an agreement. So, what can we do? We help keep the discussion going and help the parties find new alternative solutions. Mediation is usually successful, so afterwards the parties will need to prepare their own final paperwork or hire an attorney to do it.
Early Intervention Mediation. Another possibility, not often used in Texas, is early intervention mediation. Typically, in a litigated divorce, there’s a court hearing right after a case is filed. At that hearing, temporary orders are either agreed upon or imposed following an actual hearing. With early intervention mediation, the parties can choose to work with a mediator to negotiate the temporary orders and have more control over the outcome. It is a less stressful way of resolving sometimes difficult issues.
Hourly Mediation. Most mediators charge a basic flat fee for a whole day or half day, and I usually do that. To facilitate settlement when there are only one or two or a few issues, we can schedule mediation and just charge hourly. That way, the parties control the cost of the process and aren’t charged for potentially unused time. This can be helpful when nearly everything has been worked out, but the parties are stuck on some small issues.
Note: Mediation requires preparation. Both parties should secure and bring all the information needed to make decisions. Also think about what the other side will be asking for. Try to plan ahead and anticipate their issues and how you can respond.
Goals: It helps to start off thinking of your needs and the other party’s needs. Then you focus on finding solutions for the important issues, rather than playing the positional bargaining game where one side starts high and the other starts low, with the idea of meeting in the middle. The middle isn’t always helpful. For a better result, try to meet your needs rather than relying on arbitrary approaches.
In other cases, where we can’t use Collaborative Law for one reason or another, we are able to work out solutions in many cases without going to court by working informally, using some of the skills we have acquired from Collaborative Law. We look for every opportunity to help people resolve serious issues informally and privately, which is a better experience for all.
The Price Law Firm is open to using whatever process works best to meet the needs of our clients. Finding a solution is a victory for us.
Here’s the traditional biographical information, in case you are interested.
Richard C. “Dick” Price practices divorce and family law in Fort Worth and is Board Certified as a Specialist in Family Law. He is designated a Master Credentialed Collaborative Professional by Collaborative Divorce Texas. He is also a Fellow of the College of the State Bar of Texas.
For more than ten years, he has been named a Texas Super Lawyer by Texas Monthly Magazine and a Top Lawyer in Tarrant County by Fort Worth Magazine. He was also designated a Top Attorney by 360 Magazine in 2017 and 2018.
In addition to being a former Board member and an active current member in the Tarrant County Family Law Bar Association, Dick has served as a temporary Associate Judge for each of the six family courts in Tarrant County.
Change of Career Direction
Early in his career, Dick was an active trial lawyer, handling Family Law, Criminal, Personal Injury and other cases. He did pre-trial preparation, picked juries, tried the cases and did a few appeals. After about 15 years of practice, Dick noticed that most cases settled, rather than going through trial. Although the traditional emphasis was on preparing for trial, very few cases actually went to trial. That may have been in part because the use of mediation was becoming more widespread and successful.
After noticing the trend toward out of court settlements, Dick started looking around for ways to improve his negotiation skills. He initially trained as a mediator in the 1980s and did some mediations then. He later did more training to meet current requirements for mediators for Family Law matters and is actively mediating Family Law cases again.
Dick has been active as Board member and trainer for Dispute Resolution Services of North Texas for several years, and is now a Vice President. He is also a former Board member of the Tarrant County Association of Mediators.
Eventually, Dick discovered Collaborative Law when it first came to Texas in 2000. Although he still does some litigation, he prefers Collaborative Law with its challenges and rewards. He helped found the Tarrant County Bar Association’s Collaborative Law Section and was its first chair. He is the Chair this year of the Collaborative Law Section of the State Bar of Texas. He has served as an Ex Officio member of the Section’s Board of Trustees and a term as the Family Law Vice President on the Board.
He is a charter member and was a member of the Board of Trustees of the Collaborative Law Institute of Texas which is now Collaborative Divorce Texas. Dick was one of the first six lawyers in Tarrant County to be trained in Collaborative Law, and he was a founding member and leader of the Collaborative Lawyers of Tarrant County. He is currently a member of the Collaborative Divorce Tarrant County practice group.
Dick is also an active member of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals. He has spoken at their annual Forum twice in the past.
Writing and Speaking
Dick has written two different blogs for over 10 years: “Divorce and Family Law in Tarrant County, Texas” and “Texas Collaborative Law”, which was the first Collaborative Law blog. Combined, he has published over 550 different posts in the last 10 years on the two blogs.
Dick has used his communication skills in practicing Collaborative Law and as a frequent speaker for the State Bar of Texas, the Collaborative Law Institute of Texas, the Tarrant County Bar Association and various other county bar associations and organizations, speaking on Collaborative Law, family law and law practice management issues.
Dick graduated in 1976 from the UT School of Law after previously earning a Masters degree in Speech – Communications at TCU in 1973 and a B.A. from UT in 1972. A debater in undergraduate school, he was an assistant debate coach at TCU before serving a year each as head debate coach at UT-Austin and at TCU in the mid-to-late 1970’s.
Dick has lived in Fort Worth for over 35 years. He has been married for over 30 years and has a son in law school. He and his wife had an antique business on the side for several years, but closed up shop to allow them more time with their son’s school and other activities. In his spare time, Dick has been a Scoutmaster and little league baseball coach. He would love to participate in the Amazing Race on TV.