We periodically feature our members (Fellows) so that you can learn more about them, Collaborative Divorce and our organization.
Name: Anna Krolikowska
Title: Founder Anna K Law
What drew you to become a Collaborative Divorce Professional?
During the first years of my career as a lawyer I was primarily litigating traditional divorces. Looking around after doing litigation for a few years I realized there had to be a better alternative, not every divorce needed to be a “War of the Roses”. I wanted to improve my skills and offer better outcomes for my clients. A constant for me is that I always wanted to offer my clients the best possible outcome for their divorce. Beyond litigation I discovered Collaborative Divorce which offers so much to the clients who select this approach.
What do you find rewarding about practicing Collaborative Divorce?
The Collaborative Divorce approach offers me the opportunity to make a difference not only in the lives of my clients, but also their spouses and most importantly their children. During Collaborative Divorce cases we can model communication and de-escalate conflict. This approach allows me to be able to realize an outcome that best meets the client needs both for the spouses and the family as a whole instead of offering a standard, cookie-cutter approach.
What should clients know about you as a Collaborative Divorce professional?
I’m a good listener and my compassion helps me through the process. I can sympathize and understand my client’s point of view, but I can also see and explain the motivation of their spouse. This is helpful when navigating a Collaborative Divorce. Being aware of how each decision impacts each spouse and the family in total is essential. Emotional IQ is very important in Collaborative Divorce and I have that and find this greatly supports the work I do with clients.
What are the benefits to using Collaborative Divorce vs. litigation or mediation?
There are many benefits to Collaborative Divorce: Clients have the ability to craft an outcome, control the process, and the ability to keep the process from escalating. The process also offers a better support system because Collaborative Divorce includes coaches and this is especially helpful since we are dealing with emotionally charged, often difficult conversations and situations. This is especially important when there are instances of addiction, mental health issues with one or both spouses, or significant parenting concerns. If the process is successful, the family is successful post-divorce. Collaborative Divorce also allows the family to feel the children are cared-for and safe. Ultimately the couple decides how to proceed. Collaborative approaches allow flexibility while considering the safety and well-being of the children. Having coaches on the team helps the parents learn how to communicate and relate post-divorce. One other benefit is that the Collaborative Divorce approach allows for greater privacy as the proceedings are conducted in meetings and not in open court. Finally, in the Covid-19 era Collaborative Divorces can proceed on a timeline determined by the couple rather than dealing with uncontrollable and unavoidable court delays resulting from court closures earlier this year and case backlog.
What are you most looking forward to in the following year, personally/professionally?
2021 will be a remarkable year for me as in June I will be installed as the President of the Illinois State Bar Association (ISBA) and in that role I will become only the 5th Female president since 1877. I’ll be president #145. My platform includes a focus on the next-generation attorneys and diversity and inclusion of people in the legal profession from all walks of life as well as assisting our members in adapting their practices to the new world in which we found ourselves since March 2020. Additionally, I maintain leadership roles with other professional associations and draw inspiration and knowledge from each of these involvements. I’ll be focused on the continued growth of my practice and focusing even more on my clients. On a personal level I hope the coming year will be one where we can all work together in person and return to experiences that feel more in line with how we enjoy our day-to-day lives. I wish everyone a peaceful 2021 filled with health and greater human connections than we’ve been able to enjoy in 2020.