Hopelessness and Birthday Parties

Pacing the halls of the Family Court, ducking hurled shoes, deaf to hurled swears and the occasional voodoo curse (usually from one party to another, and only sometimes from a judge to an attorney or two…) with the tension, the screaming children, the screaming adults, and the general sense of hopelessness even grounded, practical attorneys can feel hopeless.  What is to be gained?  How can one possibly maintain his or her sanity here and still somehow craft a beneficial outcome for the client?  There are many ways tax attorneys and criminal attorneys gauge success.  New Audis.  Yachts.  But in family court – where the attorney / client relationship comes under acute strain early and often – it can particularly difficult to picture a finish line.

Which is why what happened to me recently took me by such surprise.  I am in the midst of a particularly nasty child custody battle (and that’s really saying something).  My office represents the Mother of the World’s Cutest Little Girl.  She is beyond adorable.  A week or so after our last court appearance I received an invitation from Mother / Client to attend her three-year-old’s birthday party.  Now, I must say, I have had plenty of happy clients in the past.  I have gotten the positive reviews, the invoice payments, the slaps on the back.  But I have never, ever, been congratulated like this before.  Being invited to the birthday party of the threenager you have been fighting over?  Tax attorneys don’t get that.

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