Objectivity is bull. This is particularly the case if we consider the practice of family law. People often ask us divorce lawyers how we remain objective in the practice of our professions. People assume that remaining objective as a lawyer is a good thing. I say that remaining objective is bunk.
Some weeks ago I had someone accuse me of not being objective about my client's custody matter. Well, duh. Oh, sure, I could have kept my cool a little better. I did totally loose it for a minute. I am deeply concerned for the damage that my client's child was being exposed to while in the care of the other parent. I think that when there is an issue as severe as parental alienation, objectivity is bull.
Being objective may be a great thing if you are a computer scientist or lab technician, but a lawyer that is practicing family law? No way. Every single family law problem comes up within the context of a family. Virtually always, family law cases are about way more than money. They are about relationships, pain, growth, and most importantly, children.
Being objective brings up feelings of being dispassionate, detached, disinterested, cold, unemotional, and strictly business. These feelings belong nowhere in the practice of family law.
Sure, great lawyers need to have the ability analyze our clients' positions. We need to look at the facts of our clients' cases and give them good advice about how to proceed based upon the law. For that we need to provide an analysis. At the same time, the legal analysis we provide must be attached to the context of each of our clients' families. For that, we need to tap into our compassion.
When our clients retain us, they are retaining us because they are about to make decisions about the most important parts of their lives. They are making significant decisions about not only their financial futures, but other matters way more significnant. Most importantly, they are making decisions about how they are going to parent their children and interact with their children's other parent for years to come. Make no mistake that these decisions will impact these families for generations.
What can be the opposite of objective? Thesaurus.com comes up with words like interested, involved, passionate, and warm. Better.
I am not suggesting for a second that we let the experience of our clients' emotions yank us all over the place. What I am suggesting is that being emotionally intelligent and connected to the work we do make us the most capable as lawyers.
By Val Hemminger, a non-objective lawyer
Val has created this website to share with her colleagues. She is not suggesting, by any means, that she is the best divorce lawyer out there. She is, however, suggesting that she is the best divorce lawyer that she herself can be. Feel free to share anything you find useful.