Are you thinking about becoming a divorce lawyer? Whether you want to help a single parent fight for child support or help couples navigate a difficult divorce, going into family law can be an admirable decision. However, you should know that family law can be one of the most personally-challenging areas of the law.
It is important to understand what should expect from a career as a family law attorney.
Maintaining a Work-Life Balance Can Be a Challenge
Family law attorneys handle a variety of very intimate and personal legal matters for their clients. You should expect to spend long hours in the office and even more time walking your clients through complicated legal issues.
As a young attorney, you may become personally invested in the outcome of your clients’ cases. It is important to define barriers and maintain a good work-life balance. Schedule personal time and stick to it.
Clients May Blame You When They Don’t Get Exactly What They Want
Clients are putting their futures, wishes, and needs in your hands. They are trusting you to take care of incredibly personal matters that they may be embarrassed to talk about with others.
While you will do your best to help every client, you won’t always come out on top. This means that your clients won’t always get what they want.
If you aren’t able to get the exact result they’re looking for in their case they may take their anger out on you. Don’t take this blame personally. Take the time to speak with your clients and walk them through what happened. The more they understand, the better they can process the result.
Focus On the Area of Law You Love
Family law matters can vary significantly. Some clients may need help navigating a divorce, some may want to collect spousal support from an ex, and others may want help protecting their children from domestic violence. Each of these areas of law is incredibly nuanced and requires an in-depth knowledge of applicable law and procedure.
While it is important to have a broad understanding of varying aspects of family law, you may want to consider focusing your practice on one (or two) specific areas of the law.
You can maintain a solid reputation and attract clients by establishing yourself as a top practitioner in a specific field. If there is a specific reason you’ve chosen to get into family law, consider focusing on that area. If you do what you love, you’ll be better at it.
Staying In Touch With Changes in the Law is Important
Areas of family law can be affected by changes in the penal code, civil code, and even the tax code. Since family law is so entwined with other areas of the law, it is important to stay abreast of changes that may affect your practice.
Seemingly minor changes imposed by court decisions, code amendments, and referendums could be incredibly important in the matters you handle. In some cases, they could make or break a victory. Take the time to read the news, engage in discussions with your peers, and study proposed changes to the law.
Your future self will thank you for getting into the habit at the outset of your career.
The best way to find out what it means to be a family law attorney by speaking with an attorney who is currently practicing in the field.