Sorrell Trope
Divorce Law - Los Angeles, CA

I started my own practice over 60 year ago. So, yes, you could say I have some perspective. My cases came by word of mouth, in the beginning from old USC undergraduate classmates. It was the way any practice got started.

Trial lawyers were drawn to criminal defense work or personal injury law. Family law didn't get much attention; it barely existed. In fact, specialization didn't exist.

In that sense, I chose to become a divorce lawyer. I was never interested in transactional work, or in representing large, impersonal entities. Family law allowed me to make a difference for people, and right away. That's why I made it my life's work.

I practiced for more than 20 years in the "Fault Era" - back when proving things like infidelity was grounds for divorce. Today of course our job is to focus on child custody and support issues and community property. Often, community property needs to be defined and investigated as to what is part of the "mandatory 50/50" of a modern divorce. The questions are, "What is half of something?" and "What is that something worth?"

The changes have been constant. Today there are state-mandated child-support guidelines. The Father's Rights movement began in the 80s, and never has really stopped. "Visitation" is now "Parenting Time." Custody disputes grew more intense and widespread.

One thing is certain: There is much more litigation in Family Law today than 30 years ago. People go to the mat more, over their children, and because there is more at stake. In that respect, our relative affluence has not made things any easier. It's true that affluence makes it easier to get divorced, but people of affluence don't want to give up anything.

We haven't changed that much in terms of behavior. A nice person can be not-so-nice in a divorce. And a not-so-nice person can become dreadful in it.

I don't think it's unique to Southern California, but people spend their lives trying to be happy. Many think the way to become happy is to get a divorce.

People nowadays tend to shop around for legal representation, even before they've decided to get divorced. That process seems like something of a beauty contest. Nonetheless, I am always willing to discuss potential family legal issues with anyone, whether they are a prospective client, or just someone exploring their options. It is how my practice was built and how it continues to thrive.

But the initial conversation is about questions and answers - lots of them. And I put a great emphasis on being as realistic as I possibly can be. If expectations are way out of line, I keep a realistic focus, and tell my client what is a long shot in terms of outcomes. That goes on throughout the case.

I'm proud of my record, and I know my firm and I provide effective representation. I don't think there's any greater concentration of expertise than at Trope and Trope. I'm not going anywhere - if you love what you do, and you can keep making a difference, you don't stop.

Sorrell Trope
"Family law allowed me to make a difference for people, and right away. That's why I made it my life's work."