While all lawyers want to help their clients and offer advice, few have the emotional impact that family law attorneys can provide. Family law cases, which often involve the welfare of children or the justice for the spouse who is being abused, have a gravitas that other areas of law can’t match.
Family law covers more than just the heavier topics. Family law attorneys can be found anywhere. They are able to help people navigate the most difficult times in their lives using extraordinary legal knowledge and exceptional empathy.
Do you sound like the type of lawyer that you would like to become? Continue reading to learn how you can become a family lawyer.
First, what does a family law attorney do?
Family lawyers are focused on matters that affect families, as the name implies. Family lawyers deal with issues such as child custody, adoptions, Scheidungsanwalt Zürich and other family-related matters. They are often responsible for drafting custody agreements and prenuptial agreements. Although some family lawyers may engage in litigation, this is not a common aspect of the practice.
Boston Professor Monica Teixeira de Sousa, advisor for the school’s Family Law Concentration. It covers everything, from constitutional law to tax law and real estate. She says, “The best way is to ask yourself: What legal issues are likely to affect the family unit?”
Considerations in divorce cases include, for instance, whether the case will be handled on a fault- or no-fault basis and how assets will get divided. There are also possible grounds like irreconcilable disagreements, mental cruelty or desertion. Support and child custody are also important factors. Family law attorneys may also be trained in criminal law to assist with those who have been accused or neglected. As technology improves and society changes, family law will likely evolve. Family law attorneys can help with new legal issues that arise from applications in genetic engineering.
Family lawyers need to have the same basic skills that other areas of law. These include strong writing and verbal communication, time management, critical thought and analysis. Family lawyers need to have strong interpersonal skills. Family law is very personal. It requires the ability to communicate calmly and constructively, even with those who might be vulnerable emotionally.
Professor Teixeira de Sousa also points out that family law practices must recognize the reality that people in such situations (divorce and custody battles, for example) can be difficult. It can be very difficult for individuals. She says, “You deal with the most personal details of other peoples’ lives.” “No matter how meticulously you complete your job as an attorney, it may not be possible to make people happy.” This type of practice requires basic best practices, such as returning phone calls promptly.
Family law is a rewarding profession despite these difficulties. It can even be very fulfilling to help clients with the most difficult cases. Family law is still a vital legal specialty that covers issues central to society’s culture, values, and lives.
Professor Teixeira De Sousa states that there is a wealth of family law. “Students are fascinated by how the common law cases reflect changing gender roles and societal expectations of family life, and how there’s always an exciting legal development.”
How to become a family attorney
A bachelor’s degree is the first requirement to become a lawyer. It is important to note that not all degrees or programs lead to law school, or even a career in family law. Students who want to study law may major in any number of fields, including history, business, economics, and political science. Engineering and nursing are good options for a career in law. Graduate degrees in a variety of fields can also be helpful.
After successfully navigating through the admissions process, and enrolling at law school, your career options will be determined by the courses you choose. All law students must take a variety of courses. However, over the course of your studies you will be able to choose classes that prepare you for family law. Students may earn ten credits in a variety of courses at New England Law to complete the concentration on family law. These include Children and the Law (Divorce Law), Domestic Violence (Family Law), Law and the Elderly (Law and the Elderly) and others.
Volunteer work, fellowships, fellowships and part-time employment are all ways for law students to get early exposure to family practice. Students can also get valuable experience in externships. Students can help actual clients in the Family Law Clinic at New England Law. This includes filing restraining order against domestic abusers. The students are also supervised by two family lawyers with decades of experience.
These practical experiences are crucial in helping students decide if they want to become a family lawyer. Professor Teixeira De Sousa recommends that students get experience training to determine if they are ready for the challenge. It’s one thing to study [family law] in a classroom setting, but it won’t be the same if you start interacting with actual clients.
You can learn a lot about family law in school, but it won’t be enough to know if it’s right for you until you start interacting with actual clients.
Starlene Alves, like many other lawyers, was exposed to family law early on in her career. This experience set her on a path within this niche. Alves describes how she was just a teenager and had the opportunity to work with an experienced family law attorney in her hometown. “She was a predominately divorce, custody and support attorney, so I was exposed for almost eleven years to this type of family law.”
Boston, looking to expand her career options. She says that New England Law helped her to become a more well-rounded lawyer by giving her the chance to study other areas and participate in internships.
Santos, LLP. Alves states that they had different experiences and tracks in law school. “When we decided together to open a law office, we were able combine our experiences and provide a variety services.” The partners now cover everything from personal injury to juvenile legal to employment discrimination to migration.
Professor Teixeira de Sousa says, “If you are thinking of opening your own family law practice,” She recommends taking classes in areas that you may not have considered, such as taxes, modern real property, wills, estates and trusts. These classes can broaden your legal knowledge. She adds that you don’t need to be intimidated by the sheer number of topics falling under family law. You’ll still have many years to develop your knowledge.
Future family lawyers can often work for non-profit organizations, small and mid-sized businesses, or government agencies after passing the bar exam. State or regional organizations that support survivors of domestic violence might hire family lawyers. They might also start their own businesses like Alves and Santos. Teaching family law can be rewarding for those with the right experience and credentials.