By Shawn Weber, FRI Co-founder
One of the greatest days of my life was when I decided to give up litigating.
Another great day was when I took status on my very last litigated divorce case. No longer do I need to ask a person in black robes for a day off. I call all of the shots in my work and LOVE it!
I litigated for years and found that while I was fairly good at it, the practice brought out the worst in me.
Before a trial, my family would notice my grumpiness. I seldom slept well and gained weight. Even when I “won,” it didn’t feel like a win. It was awful.
Finally things came to a head. I quit accepting litigation cases cold turkey. I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t scary. It was terrifying! But once I made the commitment, there was never any going back.
Today, my practice is only about Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR – Also known as Consensual Dispute Resolution). I do mediation, Collaborative Practice, neutral settlement conferences and negotiated settlement. I’ll pretty much do any family law work as long as I don’t need to cross the threshold to the courtroom. At first, there was a real financial hit. With litigation, just a few cases could make my year. I needed more ADR cases to get the same revenue. But with some recalibrating, I started replacing the revenue out-of-court cases. Now, I’m making more money than I did before. Most importantly, I’M HAPPY!
With litigation, I always had a feeling I was doing more harm than good. Families suffer when people do their divorce at court. It’s not the court’s fault. It’s just that an adversarial system is really a poor way to resolve family issues. Peacemaking processes, however, make a difference for the better.
The Transformative Moment
I live for that “transformative moment” where warring spouses find a way forward. There’s no better high than getting into the world the people are experiencing, digging deep and finding pathways for settlement. To see family in crisis find a way to peace is the greatest feeling. Helping people protect their kids and pocketbook from conflict is so awesome I would do it for free! (The best part is people actually paying me for this awesomeness.)
So, do you feel trapped in a litigation career? Don’t worry. There’s a way out! If you are willing to try and take a leap of faith, you can declare your independence from litigation forever. Come on in! The water’s fine!
Want to take the first step to declare you independence from litigation?
Click here to sign up for our fun and interactive Divorce Mediation Training.