By Kate Kovats
Early in my career, I worked for the Mecklenburg County District Attorney’s Office. It was my first full time job in the law. As an Assistant District Attorney, I spent every day arguing cases in court. All day, every day. If I got to eat lunch in the office, it was a rare luxury.
I mention this because that work, that rhythm of being in the courtroom each and every day helps me now in my work as a family law attorney. My path is unusual. Many ADAs stick around and become lifelong prosecutors or switch to the other side and have long careers as criminal defense attorneys. I don’t know too many divorce lawyers who are former ADAs. I’m grateful for that experience.
This is the biggest thing. I’m comfortable around judges. I’m comfortable going toe to toe with lawyers on the other side who have been practicing law for decades longer than I have. That intimidation factor of being in court quickly goes away when that’s where you go to work every day. Some new divorce attorneys don’t see the inside of a courtroom for years.
In my DA days, there were always surprises, and I couldn’t plan for every scenario. It was trial by fire, and I had to learn to be quick on my feet. As a divorce attorney, I once went into court and before I could present my case, every single one of my arguments was blown up. I rolled with it and still won the day for my client.
A lot of clients ask about trespassing or for counsel on getting a soon-to-be ex spouse out of the house and keeping them out of the house. Some clients even ask what to do when they find drug paraphernalia in the family home. My background in criminal law helps me provide counsel around these matters.
No matter our professions, we all have our own journeys and our own stories of how we got to where we are. I think it’s important that we share our stories. The biggest lesson of all is you never know when your story will resonate with someone and help you form a strong relationship. Everyone says their line of business is a relationship business – and, guess what, everyone is right.