Lex just met a former public defender who recently became a family lawyer. She formerly handled death penalty cases. Life or death stuff. And what she told me was interesting. The practice of family law was similar to criminal law; but the major difference was that the family lawyers are much more contentious and tend to personalize things (present company excluded, of course).
Why is that? Is there something inherent in the practice that makes many lawyers personalize their client’s angst? Or is the type of person who is attracted to this practice prone to this, oftentimes, anti-social behavior?
Maybe the marketplace promotes this behavior. If we get reputations as bellicose warriors, willing to take extreme positions for the sake of “justice”, we will be rewarded with a full book of business (but who really wants that business).
For whatever reason, divorce lawyers do tend to personally download the conflict way too often. It is unhealthy for the client, the family, the legal system, and for the lawyer. While sometimes it is hard not to get angry with despicable behavior, periodic reality checks are necessary to maintain objectivity. If everyone is a villain–nobody is.
Do your job and then go home and hug your spouse and kids. A better way to practice.