Divorce is lousy for everyone. Even if it’s amicable. Even if it’s necessary. Divorce becomes much more complicated when children are involved, despite everyone’s best efforts. We all know someone who has gone through it as an adult, a child, and sometimes both. Huffington Post linked this article via twitter– full of tweets from those that have been there and lived through it to offer some sage advice. Some of the tweets are obvious adages, some not so much. Most people criticize the lack of depth that tweets provide, but I find that the more simply things are put, the quicker they are to absorb and integrate. If nothing else, these tweets provide a discussion point.
What makes a good parent? When does it get to the point where parents should be denied access to their children? And what do we do to break the cycle? What do we as a society owe to keeping a family intact and helping someone struggling to become a better parent? Every day I see cases of parents that are not equipped to parent, but that doesn’t mean they’re bad or abusive. I also see cases of kids that might be thriving elsewhere, but still the parental bond exists. There are no winners in these types of situation. Children grow up doomed to repeat the cycle and the system fails everyone. In this article, The Girls who haven’t come home, such a tragedy is told in detail. It’s easy to say in the abstract, “this person doesn’t deserve another chance to be a mother.” In reality, however, the effect of such a final statement produces a result that benefits no one.
Failure to see the forest through the trees– it’s always been one of my favorite adages. In other words, it’s easy enough to get bogged down in the minutiae of ending a marriage when a family is involved. There are so many details to work out, and parenting across a divide is never easy. When a family is involved, however, it is the big picture that matters: kids didn’t ask for the divorce and even if in the long run it is best for everyone, losing sight of what it means to be a family even across the divided relationship can have catastrophic and long term affects. When I came upon this article on HuffPost Divorce, I thought it worthy for consideration. It might be pithy, but the point is clear: maintaining a sense of family after a divorce is essential. How you go about doing that in your day to day life can only be figured out by you as a parent. Nonetheless, the suggestions are helpful.
I suppose one of the advantages of creating and contributing to a blog is the opportunity to spread one’s philosophy around – assuming, of course, that other people actually read the blog post! I am hopeful that someone will read this one since it’s all good, and pretty difficult to disagree with. Gratitude is sometimes really difficult to remember: those days when everything seems to be going wrong: stuck in traffic, spilling my coffee, Starbucks out of macha powder, confused or overwhelmed by work. I do think, however, if maybe at those very moments I focused on all that I have to be grateful for, those burdens might seem a bit lighter. If nothing else, the focus on finding some reason to be grateful should distract from the bitching about developed world problems (What, no green tea latte?) and might make me remember that I am lucky enough to work with great people and I learn something new everyday. Every moment is a gift and every moment represents the opportunity to improve, or just enjoy. For more on this attitude shift, take a look at this 2013 TED talk.
Yes, Catholics have a new pope! In fact, the world has a new Pope, at least that’s the feeling one gets when reading the paper or watching the news. MSNBC devoted the entire afternoon to coverage once the white smoke appeared; the NYT sent out push notifications, Huffington Post changed its headline and the twittersphere exploded. The anticipation of who the Pope would be was almost palatable as I stopped work and watched the coverage. The crowd was joyful, the newscasters were giddy with excitement, taking guesses at who it could be and what it meant for the church. Still there were people who asked,”who cares?” and “why does it matter?” Even as I watched and waited, I thought the same– what does it matter and why do so many people care? Why is this news?
And then it hit me: it’s news because everyone, despite the prevalence of cynicism and declining interest in religion and more specifically the Catholic Church (particularly in the U.S.) is hopeful. A new pope might mean change in the world. It might mean that good is still there, that joy still abounds somewhere on this planet. We are all looking for someone to do it, or something to make it better. So yes, it does matter because if nothing else it shows promise and a future and new ideas.
Will the Catholic church do a 180 on contraception, gay marriage, women’s roles in the church? Not likely. To be perfectly honest, I don’t care if it does nor do I expect it to. I understand, as a Catholic that the church has to take positions on certain issues and most frequently I will disagree. But what I do hope is that this Pope returns the church to what it should be– a place where caring, love, acceptance, forgiveness are the norm. A place not of deception and closed doors, but of open acknowledgment of the wrongs of the past and a determination to right all things in the world. It is the church’s falling from these tenets that really mirrors how we have become as a society in every respect. Maybe the change of the Pope will mean that view will change as well. Here’s to hoping its an epidemic.
Today’s NYT posted an article about a new model for law school grads. Killing two birds with one stone: solving the employment crisis for new lawyers and allowing for legal help for the underrepresented poor.
Check out the article (eerily similar to my idea in my last blog entry!! I guess great minds think alike?) at this link:
or read this:
To Place Graduates, Law Schools Are Opening Firms
Laura Segall for The New York Times
Douglas J. Sylvester, dean of the law school at Arizona State University, saw a way to address a shifting job market.
Published: March 7, 2013
TEMPE, Ariz. — When Douglas J. Sylvester, dean of the law school at Arizona State University, was visiting the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota a couple of years ago he mentioned the shifting job market for his students — far fewer offers and a new demand for graduates already able to draft documents and interact with clients
Jason Clark, 24, left, and Arman Nafisi, 27, both students at the Arizona State University law school, working on an unemployment benefits case.
The Mayo dean responded that his medical students and graduates gained clinical experience in hospital rounds closely supervised by attending physicians.
“I realized that was what we needed,” Mr. Sylvester recalled. “A teaching hospital for law school graduates.”
The result is a nonprofit law firm that Arizona State is setting up this summer for some of its graduates. Over the next few years, 30 graduates will work under seasoned lawyers and be paid for a wide range of services provided at relatively low cost to the people of Phoenix. . . to read the full New York TImes article
Time for true confessions here. Sometimes I get a bit overwhelmed and feel a bit lost. When you practice law on your own, there’s a lot of uncertainty. Am I doing this right? Is there a better way to do this? Is there a faster way to do this? Who can I ask for help. Most of my life, in most of my work–I have had a great support group. Asking for help relatively easy, and because most of those people didn’t earn their living by charging by the hour, it didn’t feel like an imposition to ask for someone’s time. Now, despite the fact that countless lawyers have offered to help me as I make my practice grow, it feels like an imposition to call one of them up and say, “Could you help me ?” I was expressing my concerns with a friend at dinner the other night. She happens to be a Psychiatrist (no, it was not a therapy session–REALLY!) and told me of a great method medicine uses- a paid mentor. In addition to the apprenticing as a resident, when she first started to privately practice medicine she met with a mentor once a week and saved up all her questions and case reviews for that meeting. The mentor charged the hourly rate; a win-win. She suggested I find someone who was willing to do the same for me, and we both wondered aloud, “why did the legal profession stray from the apprenticeship model?” When did we get to the point where we thought people could graduate from law school and know what they were doing?
The very next day, an article appeared in the opinion page of the NYT asking, appealing (pun intended) the same thing. (you can read the full text through this link : Bring Back Apprenticeships) CLEs are mandatory, and many lawyers complain about the drain on time when one is actively practicing law. But what if we did away with — or reduced drastically the CLE requirement for veteran actively practicing lawyers– and instead required those leaders in their areas of expertise to put in time as mentors. In addition to the mentor model, let’s reinstitute the apprentice. Electricians apprentice, plumbers do it, physicians do it. When did the legal profession put ego and money ahead of providing good legal representation for everyone? The legal profession has been bashed about for its steady decline in quality. The fix is relatively simple and if Connecticut wanted to be a leader in the legal profession, it might step up and institute at least some small measure of apprenticeship.
This is an interesting synopsis of the history of the second amendment to the U.S. Constitution. There are no absolutes in the law– in any law. Any lawyer knows that the law is not black or white, but shades of gray. The best we as a society can hope to do is make use of dialogue and learn from history.
Follow this link:
Most attorneys don’t venture into small claims– unless they’re doing collection work for a large client. Why don’t most attorneys do small claims work? It might be from the warning the Magistrate issued at the beginning of the proceedings at my first appearnace.. he made a point of noting the bravery of attorneys to come to what is often referred to as, ”The People’s Court.” and that made me a bit nervous. Was my client going to be judged more harshly, set to a higher standard because she asked for my assistance? Was I an asset or a liability? In many ways I wasn’t sure.
For starters, I had never been before (asset or liablity?) In fact, my experience in regard to any debt collection or litigation goes back to my paralegal days; much more behind the scenes and not standing in court as an advocate. But I did come prepared (definitely an asset – for anyone!) with a completed military affidavit and having read the rules of the court at least four times. I was one of a handful attorneys (asset or liablity? ) but my case was just a hearing in damages, the defendant having failed to file an appearnace or an answer (asset!). So I already won on principle (reminding me of when the the other team failed to show up at my childhood softball games– INSTANT WIN!) So, the rest was relatively easy. I can’t necessarily say that will be true for the collection of the amount owed, but that’s my next step.
As for the aspect of small claims that gives it the moniker “the people’s court”– I am not so sure. Most judges seem fairly tolerant of pro se parties, taking the time to explain things, reigning people in when they go off on tangents or irrelevant matters. In probate court, pro se parties are the norm, and the judges there must constantly exercise patience and instruct the parties as to proper form and procedure. That didn’t seem any more present in small claims than in other courts. In fact, most of the people there had a sort of “deer in the headlights” look about them. My client asked me to help as a friend because the whole process seemed daunting to her. And it struck me then, as it does almost daily these days– that therein lies the role of an attorney. As much as we are advocates and might know the ins and outs of proceeding in court (and be more familiar with the pitfalls that come with bringing a lawsuit) we are really there to provide a steady, calm, somewhat emotionally detached force. People are emotional; just watch the so-called real People’s Court on televsion and you’ll see how outrageous people get when they are so sure they are right, or when for them, “small claims” is actually a pretty big deal.
All in all, for me, a good experience. And I think it can be for anyone, attorney or not. Just read the rules (which,in all honesty can be intimidating for the untested) and come prepared. But then again, that advice can be applied to just about every situation.