When people ask me what I do at work, I often joke that “I hear complaints and get yelled at all day.” By that I mean, my clients come to me with complaints about others, or yell at or argue with me over their case, judges are often not the nicest people to interact with, other attorneys, by the nature of their jobs, argue with me, opposing parties and witnesses, of course, hate my guts, and, my boss, like any other boss, is someone who tells me what to do in not always the gentlest of fashions. I am lucky in some ways, as other lawyers do not have the benefit of working with nice people as I do, so I suppose I should count my blessings on that score. Otherwise, I could add my unpleasant co-workers to the above list.
One big exception to the above is adoptions. Now, I realize some adoptions are highly contentious, but, luckily for me, the ones I have been involved in have not been. These adoptions involve very excited adopting parents who truly, and rather obviously, love the children they are wishing to adopt. The opposing sides, in the cases I have litigated, were, either overtly or at least tacitly, attempting to better their children’s lives by cooperating with the adoption process. The children, at least those who are old enough to have some idea of what is going on, are happy to formally have a family that is secure and not subject to the insecurity, whims, substance abuse, danger, and/or other issues which beset their parents. Finally, judges always seem to be happy to preside over an adoption like this, where it is clear that everyone agrees on the adoption and are truly happy with his involvement in it to make it official. Indeed, I have never seen any other type of case where the litigants, and sometimes their attorneys, are invited to shake hands and take pictures with the judge who presided over the hearing!
So, every now and again, when I think about the stress of the practice of law, I try to remember that there are times when the legal process is a happy one where everyone in the process is cooperative and on the same page and happy to pursue the goals sought. It is also very nice to know that the children are really, truly, and substantively having their lives improved through being adopted by parents who are loving, and truly want these children as a part of their lives.