People often ask me, "Why did you practice family law?" I struggle with how to respond to that question because the answer is not a simple one. Initially I got into family law because I was unhappy practicing in-house for a local company. After two years in-house, I realized that what was missing was the human element - a client I could see, meet with, and ultimately, help. It was that realization that sent me searching for something more, and I found it in family law.
Having been a family law practitioner for several years, I now realize that there are many reasons that I practice family law. I still like helping people, especially in times of crisis or transition, but I also find that it is rewarding to see someone grow stronger and more confident right before your eyes. At many initial consultations, clients are upset, emotionally bruised, and filled with angst over not only the decision to get divorced but also their future. But as we work together on their case, I get to witness their healing, and see them gain a certain inner-strength. Knowing that I may be a part of that process of personal growth is rewarding.
Also, practicing family law allows me to advocate for children. All too often in family law cases, parents get caught up in their own issues - they want to "win" their case. Often, my role is to get my client or the opposing party to focus on the children - to put aside their individual agendas and their differences to make the choices that are best for their family. Litigation by its very nature pits the parties against one another, and is not conducive to post-hearing or post-trial co-parenting. For this simple reason, I try to remind my clients again and again that even though a marriage may be ending, when the parties share children, they will always be connected.
Last, being an family law attorney allows me to be a creative problem-solver. Family law cases are fact-sensitive, and every case is different, which offers me the opportunity to use my creativity to try to come up with a parenting time plan, custody arrangement, or even a property division that works for that case. It's a fun and interesting challenge to work with clients to come up with an individual set of rules or guidelines that fits that client's family.
My job challenges me everyday, and sometimes it is emotionally exhausting, but I wouldn't want to do anything else.