Reality dawned on me one day last month. - I walked into the same Domestic Violence Court that I have appeared in on a weekly basis, over the past five years, and saw there were 100 cases on the Court list. Whilst it was undoubtedly clear I would be detained at Court much longer than I had hoped, I was instead acutely aware of the shocking reality that there were 100 victims of domestic violence appearing before the Court on this one particular day.
Being a family lawyer means that I deal with cases just like these, cases involving child neglect and abuse together with matrimonial breakdown on a daily basis. But this had a chilling affect on me. I suddenly realised why I am passionate about being a Family Solicitor - to do the best I can to help those people, those human beings, I am representing.
Every day in my job is a learning curve, where I try to understand the different circumstances my clients are in, and I am determined to be as empathetic as I can to each of them. Whether it’s buying them a cup of coffee and a scone at Court, listening to their concerns, or lending them my mobile phone to make phone calls to various agencies to deal with the bureaucratic society we are living in.
The harsh reality is that my clients are often very vulnerable and may not have anyone else fighting their corner. My clients who are involved in Family Law Proceedings may be overwhelmed with procedures, appointments and the overall stress of being involved in actual real life legal proceedings. After long battles with various agencies, they may be facing homelessness, battles to obtain benefits, or the heart wrenching possibility that their children may be placed in to foster care or adopted without their consent. Often I am the person that has the responsibility of breaking this news to them.
The reality is that being a Family Solicitor is a very challenging job, one that requires a lot of empathy. We need lawyers who are sensitive and caring towards their clients. So the next time you see a Solicitor rushing from Court to Court maintaining a very busy workload, please realise that we are still human. We do our very best on a daily basis to go above and beyond providing legal advice, to make very difficult situations as humane as we possibly can.