I am frequently asked how I manage the emotional aspects of being a family lawyer. “Being a man, how do you do it?” is the frequent question.
Emotional issue is only one aspect of the job. I do not deny that it is difficult to manage. We get the clients in the worst times of their lives. They are upset, angry, some want revenge and others are even depressed. They take it out on us. With age, maturity and experience, I learn to remind myself (and boy, do I have to do it many a time) that they are not negative towards me and that they are just venting their anger.
I will not deny as well it does not affect me many a time. Self-care for a family lawyer is important as well.
A friend asked me some many years ago whether I will be able to care and empathise with my clients if I am detached. His comment struck a chord and I still think about what he said. I do care about my clients. As a family lawyer, I am helping them to start a new chapter in their lives. Do I care in an emotional level? Should I care at such a level? I can but will it really help them if I do and tune in to their emotional frequency. Is that the role of a family lawyer?