It may be surprising to know that I entered law school intending to become
a criminal defense attorney, specializing in juvenile work. Starting when
I was a freshman in high school, I was all-in on the idea of representing
juvenile offenders in criminal courts. That was, until one day a mentor
asked me if I was only interested in delinquency or if I had thought about
For those who aren’t familiar with the terms, “delinquency”
is the traditional criminal arena applied to children while “dependency”
works with children in foster homes, or are otherwise “dependent”
on the State for their well-being.
Luckily, I was able to reflect on my experiences and truly think about
what I liked and did not like about my practice. My Criminal Law practice
frequently made me angry, and I was regularly bringing home that anger
and letting it impact me in other areas of my life. Every day I felt I
saw injustices, and was powerless to do anything about them.
After a few months of self-reflection, I learned that I was focusing on
advocating for children in the criminal courts – but that much of
the work and attention necessary to help these children takes place long
before they appear in court as a suspect in a crime.. (Now, before I get
too far, there are always exceptions to the rule, and sometimes children
can have the perfect balance of nature and nurture and still find themselves
in criminal situations.) I realized that many of the children I was representing
needed something and due to their age, income, or abilities were unable
to provide that something for themselves.
Many clients found they needed something like direction, or medical treatment,
or discipline or simply attention, and once those needs were met their
“criminality” or threat of recidivism dropped drastically.
And to provide that help, it often involved getting more involved in the
home life of the child, whether it was working with the parents, the school,
or even a coach. I loved it! I loved that it was possible to advocate
for my client in situations outside of the courtroom.
I am a true believer in holistic representation and in searching for the
best way to provide that assistance to my clients, I found Family Law.
In Family Law, I found the ability to be more involved in the social dynamic
behind the scenes for children and adults. It is no secret that children
who have poor relationships with one (or both) parents are far more likely
to be caught up in “criminal endeavors”, but it may not be
as well-known that divorce does not have to cause this relationship shake-down
and break down. I have learned that in helping families work together
to find what works best for them, they are able to maintain a better relationship
after the divorce and far better able to provide for their children.
In all practices where the courtroom “comes home”, so to speak,
the overall family dynamic is of vital importance, and when the subject
matter is the most personal is when it is most important to have an attorney
who understands what all that means and how all that works. It is important
to have an attorney who is willing to stand by your side and who truly
cares about your feelings, emotions and long term interests.
Stepping out of the criminal arena was a big decision for me, but I am
excited to have found Family Law, and put my personality and passion in
my practice. I believe that work put into the case outside of the eyes
of the Court can go much further than only work prepared for a judge or
jury to review, and that is especially true when working within the family
law arena. I strive to ensure my clients do not just walk out of the courtroom
happy, but are also satisfied once they get home and the bright lights
of pending litigation are no longer shining.
And that is how a girl like me, fell in love with a practice like this.