Law Offices of Sherrie R. Abney
Oklahoma City University
1986 - 1988
STAY OUT OF COURT
The Sherrie's practice is designed to keep people out of court. Recognizing that most of the financial and emotional costs of litigation are unnecessary, she has explored areas of conflict management that lead to settlement and avoid litigation. Sherrie believes that litigation should be the last resort.
MORE CREATIVE THAN LITIGATION
Settling cases is much harder work than litigation. It requires creative thinking, persistence and patience. It is much easier to say, "I'll see you in court, and we can let the judge decide," than it is to continue searching for options to meet the needs of the parties.
One of the greatest costs to clients and greatest financial benefits to lawyers is the formal discovery process. Lawyers gather all of the information they say they will need to go to trial. However, over 98% of all cases settle, and most of that expensive information is never used. There are much less costly ways to get information necessary to settle a dispute than the litigation formal discovery process.
GIVE CLIENTS A VOICE IN THEIR DISPUTE
The dispute belongs to the parties not their lawyers, and Sherrie believes that the parties should have a say in the outcome. The law does not always provide solutions that are appropriate for the parties; but by employing appropriate dispute resolution procedures, parties can agree on their own solution without the interference of the court or third parties.
THINGS YOU CAN'T GET IN COURT
For example: in a product liability case, the client is injured by a product. A court can award money, but a court cannot order the company to change their design to avoid other people from being injured in the same manner. However, in a dispute resolution procedure, the injured client can ask that the company make the design change as part of their settlement agreement.
In a sexual harassment case , the company can be required to institute a counseling program to prevent future occurrences. In medical error, instead of a huge monetary award, the parties can agree to ongoing care, a change in procedures, or any other appropriate options that a court could not order.
Often disputes occur between businesses or individual that have important relationships. Litigation can destroy those relationships, but proper management in conflict resolution can redefine the relationship and ensure that it will continue to the benefit of all parties.
DISPUTE RESOLUTION PROCEDURES
Sherrie prefers the collaborative process for dispute resolution, but not all situations are candidates for that process. She also employs the cooperative process, mediation, and arbitration.
Sherrie R. Abney is a collaborative lawyer, mediator, arbitrator and collaborative trainer. She was co-founder and first chair of the Dallas Bar Association Collaborative Law Section and is past chair of the ADR Section of the Dallas Bar. As a founding director of the Global Collaborative Law Council (formerly the Texas Collaborative Law Council), she has served as Vice President of Education and Training for the organization since 2004. Sherrie is a member and presenter for the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals and has presented at many dispute resolution conferences in Cork, Ireland, Sydney, Australia, Oxford University as well as a number of conferences in the U.S. and Canada. Sherrie has conducted training for collaborative professionals nationally and internationally utilizing case studies, role play, demonstrations, and interactive activities. Currently, Sherrie serves on the ADR Advisory Council for the State Bar of Texas and the Collaborative Law Committee of the DR Section of the American Bar Association. She is the author of Avoiding Litigation, A Guide to Civil Collaborative Law and numerous articles on the use of Collaborative Law in resolving civil dispute