Archive for the ‘Not South Carolina Specific’ Category

If you want peace, prepare for war

Clients often ask me, if the goal is to settle the case, why I ask them to gather substantial information or why I issue discovery from the very beginning. The Romans would have understood. They had an adage, “Si vis pacem, para bellum.” Translated: “If you want peace, prepare for war.” In family law one […]

The unknown unknowns

There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don’t know we don’t know. Although not a fan of Donald Rumsfeld, I think he gets […]

Half a life

I was 9,930 days old when I married Karen Anne Klickstein on December 30, 1989.  As of March 8, 2017, I had been married 9,930 days–half a life. That day’s approach had me reflecting on the meaning of marriage. I spend much of my time working with people in unhappy marriages. Sometimes they are certain their […]

Representing witnesses of current family court clients

A few times every year a witness in a current family court case will ask me to represent him or her in a family court matter. Rule 1.7 of the South Carolina Rules of Professional Conduct limits that ability: RULE 1.7: CONFLICT OF INTEREST: CURRENT CLIENTS (a) Except as provided in paragraph (b), a lawyer […]

Best practices in responding to requests for production

I spend a lot of time struggling to get opposing attorneys to fully respond to requests for production. Often it’s hard to tell if the response is adequate because often the response is not clear. Vague request for production responses can be treated as a failure to respond. See Rule 37(a)(3), SCRCP (“an evasive or […]

Little reason to attack the guardian at trial

Working on materials for an upcoming lecture on attorney/guardian interactions, I realized that it had been years since I last felt compelled to “attack” the guardian ad litem at trial. However I am often asked by colleagues on effective techniques to undermine the guardian. There are times when the only effective strategy for minimizing a […]

Let’s Make Better Mistakes Tomorrow

Recently, walking past an apartment in Amsterdam, I observed the following postcard-sized calling card for a “life coach” and broke out laughing: Attorneys, especially family law attorneys, represent folks who are trying to overcome “mistakes.” Sometimes the mistake is having a child before they are ready to parent. Sometimes the mistake is marrying someone they shouldn’t […]

Is empathy really useful for a family law attorney?

A recent New York Times ROOM for DEBATE discussed Does Empathy Guide or Hinder Moral Action? The anti-empathy debater defined it as “the capacity to experience the feeling of others, and particularly others’ suffering.” He believes our culture confuses empathy with compassion, and that empathy is a hindrance to making wise and moral decisions. Family […]