People ask me how I got into what I do today, and honestly the answer is I'm not exactly sure. I think on some level we all gravitate to what we have some aptitude for. And family law requires many of the traits that I've had all along - a combination of sensitivity and toughness, for starters. What's more, in our work we need the ability to collect and analyze information - a lot of it.
All of our cases are unique in terms of the facts - how we bring together those facts will many times determine the outcome of a case.
I've always been good with people, understanding what motivates - and what doesn't. Sometimes it's just the little things, the way you greet people, how you listen, what questions you ask. I look people in the eye.
With every case, much of our work involves applying what's appropriate, recommending and executing what's the most sensible approach and solution. The fact is, going to court is not the way most cases should be resolved. Litigation can have horrific long-term effects - especially on the children. That impact can't be measured in dollars and cents. There is often just too much collateral damage. So I am always recommending alternatives to going to court.
We deal with our share of unrealistic people - the intense emotions of divorce can do that. So it's our job, from the start, to set some realistic expectations, and explain why we should have those expectations.
I have a very strong mediation practice - I am brought in to contested cases to achieve a resolution outside of court. I can say now that, after having mediated hundreds of contested divorces, I have a very good idea of where cases should settle. And that knowledge creates a lot of advantages for the clients I represent.
As I tell all my clients, what you are going through won't last forever - and there is the prospect of positive change at the end of it.
My partner Carmine Villani and I built our practice the old-fashioned way - we started with a single client, worked hard for them, and achieved results for them. And then another client, and another. We've always been involved in professional and community organizations. People in the community know us - and have confidence in our record, and our work. It's been 20 years now since we launched our firm - we have a few more lawyers, but our approach, achieving results for our clients, hasn't changed a bit.
We love being a part of the community here - I think there's nothing better than having a community-focused practice, especially here. Other lawyers ask me all the time if they'd like to trade where they practice with me. And I always say: No thanks.