I'm a litigator, and I go to court to win. But one of the first things I tell people is if you are looking for justice from the court system, you're wasting your time. It's cynical and pointless to expect it.
In fact we are dealing with a court system that's not prepared or able fully to address most issues in a divorce. It's a terribly inefficient, expensive process. As lawyers, we only head to court if we absolutely have to, as a last resort. Yes, there are issues we litigate: Disputed marital property, appropriate levels of support, and unfortunately, too often, custodial issues. But more often than not, going to court means everybody loses.
Each of us here, Barry and I especially, understands our respective disciplines. We respect the potential and acknowledge the limitations of each side. The fact is Collaborative Law may displace much of what's litigated in divorce today. But that's going to take some time.
At the same time, I remind my clients that mediation and ADR (alternative dispute resolution) is fine. But they don't generally work unless there is a parity of power in the marital relationship. An agreement coming out of mediation is too likely going to reflect any imbalance in the power structure of the relationship.
I spent early years of my career as a litigator, and as a prosecutor of political corruption. I prosecuted some pretty slimy government officials. I was something of a zealot in those days, but you had to be. Today I take a somewhat broader view. There's corruption, and there's serious corruption. I really, really hate the latter. Seeing all of that really made me dislike the legal system for a while.
But I love the combat and the competition of litigation, of out-preparing and out-strategizing the other side. I'm very good at facing competing ideas head-on, and putting together the superior presentation.
Divorce and family law - and its courts, even with their overloaded dockets - can have a common-sense orientation. That's always appealed to me. The family law courts recognize the human elements. Technicalities can carry the day in criminal defense and securities law, and the outcomes and behaviors there often run counter to common sense - and fail to address right and wrong. Pick up a copy of Dickens' "Bleak House" and you'll get an idea of what I mean. Times haven't changed.
We offer a range of solutions - mediation, collaborative law or litigation - and because of that we have mostly happy clients. We are paid to guide and navigate to those solutions, whichever process makes the most sense. For me all of that is easy to enjoy - because it's very rewarding.