True story: a family lawyer in town got a call from his client.
The client said: “I shot the bitch. Right there on the street, like the dog that she was. So anyway, I’m just driving over to your place.”
The client was placed under arrest. That lawyer still practices, though I’ve been told that the wife’s lawyer no longer does.
As those of you who have been reading my blog a while know, in my day job, I’m a freshly-hatched lawyer (called to the bar in June). Since then, I have been practicing in the area of family law, often to the exclusion of anything else, including blogging and writing fiction. It is a wrenching and exhausting area of law. Clients will often start crying during the course of a meeting while I listen, and feel a deep sadness at all that the client is losing, at so many levels. All our meeting rooms and offices have boxes of tissues.
Family law was near the bottom of my list of practice areas to work in, back when I was in law school (all of a year and a half ago). It ranked just above criminal law, which I still have no desire to work in.
But it turns out I absolutely love family law. This surprises many, including many fellow lawyers. Heck, it surprised me.
But yeah–I really love it, because I feel like what I am doing is making a difference. This week, a client who has not been able to see his kids since this past summer, because his ex and her lawyer were being difficult, finally got to see the kids. This result is a direct consequence of my actions and efforts (with oversight and mentorship from a senior lawyer, of course), and when something like this happens, after months of oft-discouraging effort, it can feel good.
But there’s a potential double edge to it all, and that’s something I’ve been struggling with, though for now that struggle is theoretical, thank goodness.
It’s the issue of conflicting ethics. Continue reading