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Collaborative Law Section

Provides a forum for lawyers and other professionals who are interested in learning about the collaborative dispute resolution process and advancing their skills in the process. The goals of the Section are: (1) to promote the use of the collaborative process for resolving disputes in various areas of law, (2) to train lawyers and other professionals in the use of the process, (3) to educate the public as to the benefits of the process, and (4) to preserve the integrity of the collaborative dispute resolution process.

Meeting Schedule: 
The Collaborative Law Section typically meets at noon on the FOURTH WEDNESDAY of each month at the Belo Mansion.   

Follow us on Twitter here: @CollabLawTx


Upcoming Section Meetings


Sept 27, 2017 at Noon at the Belo

1 hour CLE

“Building Bridges to Reconciliation:  How Principles of Restorative Justice relate to Collaborative Law”

One goal of the Collaborative Law process is to avoid damage to relationships - and to improve them if possible.  Collaborative cases can involve actual or perceived victimhood, with one party viewing the other as a perpetrator of harm.   “Bridges to Life” is a Restorative Justice program that seeks to reconcile criminal offenders and their victims.  The speakers will provide an  overview of the BTL program and discuss aspects of it that overlap with the Collaborative Law process – including responsibility, accountability, forgiveness, and reconciliation.


  • Jim Buffington, COO of Bridges to Life ("BTL"), a Texas nonprofit corporation.  Mr. Buffington became a crime victim when his mother was brutally murdered and was further victimized when his father was convicted of the crime.  Mr. Buffington began volunteering with BTL starting in 2004, choosing the path of healing and forgiveness exemplified by Restorative Justice, and he joined the BTL staff in 2016.  
  • Charles Fisher, DFW Regional Coordinator of BTL.  Mr. Fisher discovered the power of Restorative Justice during his incarceration at the LeBlanc Unit in Beaumont, and applied for the concepts he learned to create a successful life after his release. He is the first graduate of the BTL Restorative Justice program to join BTL as a staff member.



Pro Bono Intake Clinic


Sept 28, 2017

All hands on deck!  The Collaborative Law Section is sponsoring the DVAP West Dallas Clinic on the evening of September 28th. We need law students, support staff and attorneys. Support volunteers are responsible for income screening, assisting disabled clients with application forms, copying, etc. Attorneys are asked to interview and get facts from applicants regarding their legal issue and provide advice, if possible. Volunteer orientation and instructions will be provided.  Contact Laura Schlenker with questions and to RSVP:


West Dallas Multipurpose Center
2828 Fish Trap Road
Dallas, Texas 75212

Arrival Time:

5:30 Law students/support staff
6:00 Attorneys



  • September 27 at the Belo: Restorative Justice

  • September 28 Intake Clinic

  • October 25 at the Belo: Avoiding Splitting and Manipulation panel discussion

  • December 6 at the Belo: The Lessons of Medicine Hat with Larry Hance


  • January 24 at the Belo: Addressing Addiction in Collaborative Cases panel discussion
  • February 28 at the Belo: Dallas Collaborative Pro Bono Project


Training Opportunities




Book Recommendations


Just published by the ABA – Structured Negotiation:  A Winning Alternative to Lawsuits, by Lainey Feingold.  Some of you may have attended the Section meeting in Spring 2015 when Ms. Feingold appeared via skype and presented her Structured Negotiation method to our membership.  Ms. Feingold has used this method, very similar to the Collaborative Process, to achieve settlements and change for disability rights clients involved with entities such as Walmart, Major League Baseball, and local governments.  For more information, and to receive 10% discount on the purchase price, visit


Section Officers:

Name: Jodi McShan
Officer Position: Chair
Law Office of Jodi McShan, PLLC 
Firm Address: 4144 N Central Expy Ste 300
Firm City, State, Zip: Dallas, TX 75204
Business Phone: 214-800-2091

Name: Stephen Rizzieri
Officer Position: Vice Chair
L. Stephen Rizzieri, PLLC
Firm Address: 8150 North Central Expy, 10th Floor.
Firm City, State, Zip: Dallas, TX 75206
Business Phone: 214-434-1017

Name: Elizabeth Chappell
Officer Position: Secretary
Firm Address: 106 N. Denton Tap Rd., 210-209
Firm City, State, Zip: Coppell, TX 75019
Business Phone: 214-614-8304

Name: Brett Christiansen
Officer Position: Treasurer
Firm: Christiansen Davis LLC
Firm Address: 4100 Spring Valley Rd., Ste. 450
Firm City, State, Zip: Dallas, TX 75244 
Business Phone: 214-838-3501

Name: Laura Schlenker
Officer Position: Immediate Past Chair
Firm: Law Office of Laura Schlenker
Firm Address: 401 Tom Landry Hwy #224632
Firm City, State, Zip: Dallas, TX 75260
Business Phone: 214-923-5071

Name: Angelina LaPenotiere
Officer Position: DBA Board Advisor
Firm: Fannie Mae
Address: 14221 Dallas Parkway, Ste. 1000
City, State, Zip: Dallas, Texas 75254
Business Phone: 972-773-7383

Resource Links

State Bar of Texas Collaborative Law Section

ABA Dispute Resolution Section’s Collaborative Law Committee

International Academy of Collaborative Professionals

Global Collaborative Law Council

Collaborative Law Institute of Texas

Houston Bar Association Collaborative Law Section

Lubbock Bar Association Collaborative Law Section

Massachusetts Collaborative Law Council

Section Membership:

If you are interested in becoming a member of the Collaborative Law section, please click here to join online or send a letter of request and the $20.00 membership fee to:
2101 Ross Ave
Dallas TX, 75201
Please note that you must be a member of the Dallas Bar Association to join a section. If you have any questions regarding sections membership, please contact the DBA membership department.

Section Admin-Mass E-mail/Roster

Section Admin-Webpage

For questions regarding Section email/roster/webpage, email Jessica Smith or call 214-220-7477.  


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