Cost-effective alternatives to going to court!




Illustrations of unbundled, discrete task legal services offered at the Law Office of Zanita A. Zacks-Gabriel include:

  • Advice: If you want advice only, it can be purchased at an initial consultation or throughout the case as determined by you with the input of Zanita. She will collaborate with you in helping you decide if and when further consultations may be needed.
  • Research: If you want legal research, after an initial consultation, a personal or telephonic unbundled service provides this legal information. Research may take 15 minutes or 10 hours. You are in charge of determining the scope of the job and who will do the work—you, Zanita or a negotiated collaborative effort between us.
  • Drafting: We can ghostwrite letters and and court pleadings for you to transmit, or just review and comment on what you have prepared.
  • Negotiation: Zanita will teach you how to negotiate with opposing parties, court clerks and governmental agencies.
  • Representing You in Mediation: We can prepare you for mediation, monitor progress, or we can even attend mediation sessions to offer advice and emotional support.

Non-litigation services also may include:

  • Collaborative negotiation approach with no disqualification clause.
  • Unbundled coaching of pro se parties.
  • Preventative family and business transactions.
  • Consulting lawyer in mediation.
  • Second opinions.
  • Settlement co-counsel in litigation.
  • Assisting in arranging expert testimony.

More formal processes include

Collaborative law is an alternative legal process for couples who have decided to separate or end their marriage. Couples work with their respective lawyers and other professionals in order to avoid the uncertain outcome of trial. The goal is to achieve a settlement that best meets the specific needs of both parties and their children without the underlying threat of contested litigation. This voluntary process is initiated when the couple signs a contract called a Participation Agreement. This contract binds the parties to the process and disqualifies their respective lawyer’s right to represent either party in any future family-related litigation. Settlements are not based upon what they are legally entitled to receive but rather what will meet the needs of each party and the children.

Mediation is a process by which participants, together with the assistance of a neutral third person or persons, systematically isolate disputed issues, in order to develop options, consider alternatives and reach a consensual settlement that will accommodate their needs. Mediation emphasizes the participants' own responsibilities for making decisions that affect their lives.

Arbitration is a process to resolve family law disputes outside the court system. The parties agree upon a third party as an arbitrator who will act as a judge. After giving the parties the opportunity to present their side of the story and to present any relevant documents or other evidence, the arbitrator will decide how to resolve the divorce. There are usually no set rules as to how arbitration is conducted. It is typically left to the agreement of the parties.

There can be binding and non-binding arbitration. A “binding” arbitration generally means that the parties can take an arbitration award to a court of law and enforce it. “Non-binding” arbitration refers to a situation where the parties agree to use arbitration as a forum to try to resolve their differences, but neither party is bound to comply with any decision by the arbitrator.

The number-one benefit of arbitration is that it serves as a forum to resolve disputes outside of the judicial system. Arbitration can be fast, quick and easy, whereas lawsuits can drag on for years and years. Since the rules of evidence and procedure are usually relaxed in arbitration proceedings. Arbitration tends to be less expensive than pursuing a lawsuit. While the parties will have to pay the arbitrator, his or her fees will inevitably be less than the attorneys’ fees that they will have to pay to take the same case to trial.

About Zanita A. Zacks-Gabriel

(814) 452-4451