Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Lawyers and Parental Alienation

The more I have learned about the law and its practice within the Family Court setting, the more I am struck by how most (not all) Family Lawyers can be found in two groups. The first group are the lawyers who obviously did well in law school, clearly know the law, and understand the rules and their application. These lawyers are the ones who are most often flabbergasted by how the practice of Family Law is littered with violations of the rules and even statutes. It is like this group of lawyers are offended by the violations of the sacred rules, but have difficulty getting past that, saying often, "that was not supposed to happen," and then leaving the courthouse in disgust.

The second group of lawyers are composed of those who probably took the Bar Exam more than once, did not finish at the top of their classes and probably utilized all of the study guide short cuts (legal and illegal) available to them. These lawyers are not so troubled by the Rules of Evidence and Procedural Law, and are very comfortable in their abasement. These lawyers see such rules more as guidelines than rules and act accordingly. These lawyers will draft Motions and Pleading that do not follow the proper formulas, and lean instead towards hyperbole and accusations about the other party, albeit without any factual basis. This does not seem to trouble them either. This second group of lawyers can be a serious problem in cases where Parental Alienation are present. These lawyers will violate their ethical code as officers of the court and allege incidents that they know did not occur. They will lie freely and without compunction. I believe that they got this way because they get away with it more often than not. While these lawyers are devoid of ethical foundation, they are sometimes very good story tellers. Within the context of Family Court, this storytelling skill is very important and can create great difficulty when used improperly.

The rare find is the lawyer who belongs to the first group, but who also understands that the other side will violate every rule imaginable if allowed. These lawyers see it as being part of their job to prevent the other lawyer as well as the Judge from violating the Rules and the Law. These lawyers will take on the other lawyer in terms of their improper conduct as well as will then take on a Judge who is not doing their job. These lawyers understand that part of their role is to be a watchdog, keeping an eye on both the other lawyer as well as the Judge. They are willing to be perceived and difficult in order to represent their client's interest In the social reality of the Family Court culture, this is however, the rare lawyer. The other quality that they have they share with their more lazy and slovenly colleagues in the second group. That is, they are good at telling succinct stories, quickly and with conviction. These lawyers realize that their job is to get the Judge to identify with their client's situation. These lawyers realize that it is their job to get the Judge to feel what it feels like to be falsely accused and have your children taken from you. Finally, these lawyers prepare and give great thought to their presentations. They work at length with their clients and witnesses regarding their testimony and think about such things as the order of testimony and the unfolding of the story.

So here is is. These are the ingredients of the lawyer you are looking for:
1. The lawyer must know the law and the rules and be willing to fight for their enforcement.
2. They prepare excessively, and include the client in all of this preparation.
3. Finally, they are good story tellers, and they understand the importance of the story.

Good Luck!