An environmental thought-leader (read: here or here), an advocate for children’s rights (read: here), and a compassionate advocate for preserving North Carolina’s history thoughtfully and empathetically (read: here), that’s Bill Blancato. But, he’s also someone he believes strongly in the value and efficacy of resolving civil disputes collaboratively. So much so that he was a founding member of the North Carolina Civil Collaborative Law Association. We asked Bill some questions to better understand his private practice journey that led him to support collaborative law. Here are his answers, in his words:
What do you like most about practicing law?
I love the challenge of helping people solve a problem they haven’t been able to solve themselves; and doing so in a prompt and cost-effective way.
Tell us a little about how you got to where you are today.
I had built an interesting litigation practice when, in 2006, a client, a large regional general contractor, asked if I would be interested in becoming its general counsel. No more time sheets! I jumped on that ship, but the 2008 recession sank the ship (my own professional Titanic story). In early 2013, I found myself back in private practice with no clients. At this stage of my career, I would rather focus on helping people solve problems than fighting in court.
Why are you passionate about civil collaborative law?
I took superior court mediation training in 1992, when I had been practicing less than 10 years. It didn’t take long for me to realize that litigation is almost always a very time consuming and expensive way to resolve disputes. I knew there had to be a better way. Mediation is one of those better ways. Collaborative improves on mediation because it puts more control in the clients’ hands.
What is your favorite book and why?
In 2019, I read Ball Four by Jim Bouton, which I had never read before. I’m a big baseball fan and thought it was hilarious. But my all-time favorite is: “Rising Tide: The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 and How It Changed America” by John Barry. This is a fascinating story about the hydrology and geology of the Mississippi River; the engineers who built bridges across it and opened the channel to shipping; the huge flood of 1927; the economies; especially New Orleans, that depend on the river; and Herbert Hoover’s rise to prominence as he managed the aftermath of the flood.
What do you like to do in your free time?
Cycling, hiking, tennis, bowling, cooking, gardening (but the deer are making this very difficult), winning money from my friends at our monthly poker game, spending time with my wife and daughters, and volunteering as a Regional Coordinator for Citizens’ Climate Lobby which is working to build the will in Congress to address climate change.
Do you want to know more about the civil collaborative law process? Connect with a civil collaborative lawyer here.