Lawyers have been called countless names over the years, many of which are unflattering. Family lawyers, or divorce lawyers, have some labels reserved specifically for them. Lawyers describe themselves in many different ways, also. Some want to be seen as warriors, describing themselves as “aggressive” and “fighting for your rights.” Some proudly wear the label “bulldog”, meaning they’re tenacious and never back down. If you’re looking for a lawyer who will wholeheartedly continue the conflict you’ve been having with your spouse, stepping in as your surrogate and charging you a significant hourly rate to do so, this is your man or woman. At least until your wallet is empty. If you’re looking for this lawyer, I have two suggestions. The first is to consider what your ultimate goals are when your divorce is finished and whether continuing your ongoing conflict through expensive surrogates is going to accomplish those goals. The second is that if your intention is truly to continue your ongoing conflict, please don’t call me. We’ll both be disappointed.

I am a problem-solver. I am not an aggressive, overbearing bulldog lawyer who clients and other lawyers dread dealing with. I have no desire to needlessly promote conflict and worsen the relationship between you and your spouse. That’s not my personality and it’s not the best way for me to help you. I want to provide efficient and effective legal assistance to my clients and I work best with clients who are looking for effective and efficient legal assistance.

I am a problem-solver. My only interest is helping you resolve your conflict and move on with your life. You have a problem that you need help solving. Namely, you are married and headed for divorce. Whether you or your spouse or both of you initiated the divorce, it’s going to happen. You need to figure out three things – 1) how to divide your property; 2) how you’re each going to support yourselves financially; and 3) how you’re going to parent your children. I would prefer to help you and your spouse make those decisions in a planned, rational way, since it’s in both of your best interests (and surely in your children’s best interests) for you to make those decisions humanely, civilly and privately. Even if you both decide that your best option is having an arbitrator or a court decide your case, you can handle that process in a reasonable way, with your eye on the goal of solving your problem.

In my experience, there are a lot of lawyers who share my mind set. They want to help their clients, get paid fairly for their work and through their actions gain a reputation as a helpful attorney. I assume that other lawyers who make the divorce process difficult, drawn-out and emotionally and financially painful for both spouses also believe they’re helping their clients. I’m not saying that attorneys who practice “slash and burn” litigation are bad people, but I just don’t share their outlook on how to best serve my clients.

When you’re interviewing attorneys, it’s important to find out how they practice law. What do they suggest as the game plan for reaching your goals? What options do they explain to you about how to accomplish your goals? Do they share your outlook on how you would like to resolve your legal problems? You should find a lawyer whose method of legal practice makes sense to you and fits with your values and beliefs. If you’re looking for a problem-solver, feel free to contact me.