Lessons Family Law Teaches

Family law is not an easy field of law to be in. Family law attorneys deal with a great deal of emotions and stress from their clients. Regardless, if the family law case is related to divorce or custody or even parenting time, etc. clients deal with a lot of emotions and stress. Divorce is one of the most stressful events that a person can go through in their lifetime.

There are lessons that family law can teach attorneys.

Lesson One: Empathy. Learning and having empathy for clients is a must. Family law attorneys handle clients during the worst moments in their lives. However, that does not mean the client is a bad person, they are just dealing with a lot of stress and emotions during their family law matter.

Being able to understand how a client is feeling can help a client feel more at ease and by really listening to their story. Guiding a client through the roughest time in their life is also important to making a client feel as if their attorney completely understands them and has their back. This can help strengthen the attorney-client relationship. When an attorney does not show empathy, a client may be more hesitant to hire or keep them as their attorney.

Clients should also be empathetic to others in their situations. Going through any type of family law matter is hard, however, clients will likely be more helpful to those who end up in the same type of situations.

Lesson Two: Be Humble. Being humble is a characteristic that a family law attorney should have. One, an attorney who practices in the same county all the time will likely work with some of the same attorneys within that same county.

Having humility is important as an attorney does not want to upset their colleagues. However, winning should be celebrated, but an attorney should not bank on winning all the time. Most of the time, winning cases is out of an attorney’s control, a judge decides. Attorneys just need to know how to shape their argument properly to be a winning argument, but even then, a judge may rule against you.

An attorney should not judge themselves based on the outcome, but judge themselves more on if the attorney did the best that they could with what they were given. Judges rule against attorney’s all the time for things and that does not mean the argument was poorly constructed or wrong. Judges have discretion over their cases. Keeping a level head and doing the best an attorney can while not bragging when they win or pouting when they lose, will keep the attorney humble. Clients like it when their attorney is more down to earth and can relate to them in some way.

A client should be humble and not let the win on their case get to their head. There will be wins and losses in any case. Understanding this and not getting upset to the point they blame their attorney over the losses is important. An attorney could do the best job and still lose. All clients need to understand that.

Lesson Three: Honesty. Being honest with a client, their colleagues as well as the family law judge is a must for an attorney. If a client finds out that their attorney has lied to them about something, this can put a client off. The client may be untrusting of other attorneys and the legal system due to an attorney’s greed or untrustworthiness. Lying in the courtroom can also put a sour taste in the judge’s mouth as well as the opposing party/counsel’s.

No attorney or client should cover up a mistake by lying in court or to each other or the other party/counsel. Mistakes happen and that should be understood. Lying will not save face as it will likely come out. This will make the attorney or client look bad to everyone. Owning a mistake is better than lying about it. It will help an attorney and their client’s reputation.

Being an attorney in family law is hard. There are always high emotions and stress. Attorneys need to take the lessons they learn and use them daily to help better the lives of their clients when they go through one of the toughest times in their life.

For more information, please see article “Why Advocates Need to Read Great Books” by Steven Peskind, on


The attorneys at Kathryn Wayne-Spindler & Associates are experienced attorneys who change with the times to meet the needs of their clients. Contact the Milford, Michigan law office of Kathryn Wayne-Spindler & Associates at 248-676-1000 for assistance.  Or contact our new location in Alexander City, Alabama at 800-809-9414. The attorneys of Kathryn Wayne-Spindler & Associates practice law throughout Southeastern Michigan primarily including Oakland, Wayne, Washtenaw, Genesee and Livingston counties. In Alabama Kathryn practices in primarily Tallapoosa, Lee, Macon, Chambers, Coosa and Elmore Counties.