Going through a high net worth divorce or for that matter any divorce can be quite stressful.
Similarly, family conflicts regarding custody, visitation and alimony can also be very upsetting.
Finding and hiring the right lawyer can be very helpful.
When you need a skilled lawyer to help solve a family problem, represent you in a divorce or to protect your children, you want to hire an attorney who is experienced and passionate about the practice of family law.
In a recent article, Attorney Wade Harrison shared his philosophy and passion about helping families through challenging situations.
When asked what he loves about family law, Mr. Harrison responded in the following manner:
It did not start that way. Since the eighth grade I have known I am supposed to be a lawyer. I imagined myself in trials impressing judges and juries like the men I got to watch in court after school. I still have this image. I get plenty of time to polish it. As exhilarating as they are however, trials are just the tip of the family law iceberg.
I get to know my clients in a way few others in their lives do. My clients are like me, imperfect, sometimes broken, always human, most of the time complicated and at some level uniquely real. Unlike me, each of my clients is coping with the grief for the loss of their marriage relationship. My client’s behavior may be viewed as symptomatic of the grief stages of denial, guilt, bargaining, anger and resignation or it just may be his or her way of coping. I get to help each of them get through the grief, resolve the legal, financial and interpersonal issues associated with their on with the dissolution of their marriages, and get on with their lives.
My clients have interesting relationships, ambitions, talents and objectives. I have the opportunity to get to know them and try to understand who they really are and what they really want. Though I am with each of them during a difficult and often critical part of their life, it is only a small part of their life. Hopefully there will be much more life after divorce. Understanding this helps shape our relationship from the way we frame issues to the way we define success in negotiation or litigation.
I love to win. It is a real rush when a judge or jury vindicates our position in litigation. The desire to win made me want to be a lawyer in the first place. It is choosing the right fights and winning them the right way that keeps me loving the practice of family law. Choosing the right fight requires that my client and I actually be a team. We have to talk to each other and listen to each other. We have to be able to take the risk of making each other mad. We have to be able to admit when we don’t know the answers and when just knowing the questions is enough. We have to develop a common vision of what we want the future to look like, a common understanding of the resources available and how to deploy them and a common assessment of the risks associated with available options. Most important we must agree that my client’s decision about a particular objective, strategy or tactic is consistent with both of our professional and personal ethics.
This approach to the practice of family law is not easy. It is not for every lawyer or every client. It cannot work if there is a lack of trust on either my part or my client’s part. A very wise attorney in my town once said, “It is not the cases you take that make you most successful, it is the ones you turn down.” In my thirties and forties I did not understand what he meant. I now understand that I cannot earn every client’s trust or meet every client’s expectations. There are times when for whatever reason I cannot communicate in a way that will engender that trust. There are times when we cannot agree on an objective, strategy or tactic and that leads to the erosion of trust. There are times when we have trust, agree on everything and do not reach our objectives. There are even times when if I am honest with myself, I just don’t like being on the same team with my client. If these things happen and cannot be repaired, as much as I hate losing a client it is better for both me and my client to go our separate ways.
Recently, I contacted former clients to ask them to complete a survey for a professional peer review. These people did not owe me anything. They would have had good reason to repress memories of their divorce lawyer along with the inherently unpleasant circumstances associated with the dissolution of their marriages. Almost to a person they reported that they were doing well and their children were doing well. Nobody turned me down. They were happy to praise my efforts and those of my partner and paralegals. The next time I am down because I lose a client or a trial, I will try to remember to re-read these e-mails and rediscover why I love the practice of family law.
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