September 15, 2010

Turn About Is Fair Play: How I Came to Never Judge My Clients

An old client recently pointed out to me that I write about my clients in my blog.  Now that may not sound like a thought I should need brought to my attention—but the impact she experienced thinking I had written about her, triggered a realization for me that it’s true: I write about other people, my clients, in my blog.

So with this post I offer a bit of payback to all the past and future clients who I will write about over my career. I offer a few moments from my own divorce, which occurred about eight years ago.

  • My ex-husband, we’ll call him Bob, drove up to my new house to give me the signed title to my car.  He didn’t get out of his car so I stood in the street talking to him through his driver-side window. He signed the title, and handed it to me, and I asked him to also sign a form I had with me giving me the secondary insurance policy that came with the car, as I needed his signature to make a claim.  He said no, our attorneys had only instructed him to sign the title, so that was all he was going to do.  And then he started to drive away. I needed to make the claim so badly, and couldn’t believe he’d not sign the form, so instinctually I reached into his car to grab the steering wheel while asking him to stop and please sign it. In a split second I realized we were about to go all Jerry Springer—I was half inside and half outside of a moving vehicle.  I let go, ending up in the middle of my street shaking my fist and swearing at his receding car.
  • Another time, my attorney called me to give me some news I didn’t want to hear.  I have no memory of what she called to tell me, but I do remember raising my voice to actually yell at her—yell at her a lot—in response to the news, just spewing out my frustration at her over the phone.  All I can say is: in that moment, apparently, I was mistaking my attorney for Bob.
  • Bob has two beautiful children from his first marriage.  Months after our separation, Bob agreed to let me to see the kids once, at a restaurant with him.  The situation dictated we all go through the motions of a normal dinner, but in such extreme circumstances, the evening was surreal at best and torturous at worst.  As I drove home from that dinner, with my heart breaking, I screamed and screamed and screamed as I drove—at the top of my lungs.  It was the only thing I could do to alleviate the pain of having to bottle up all that grief, all that love, for my step-children throughout the evening, so I could make it through the motions of a normal dinner and support the kids to do the same.

And the messages that I hope you take from these moments in my life are: 1) divorce makes most people act a bit crazy once in a while, so try not to judge yourself or others going through the process harshly; and 2) as a mediator, I never judge my clients—the ones I write about and the ones I don’t—because I can empathize with just about any response a client might have to the highly-charged moments of the divorce process.  Why?  I’ve been there.

Her intelligence goes without saying.

Unmani’s level of fluid skill and preparation with the name change process reveals her complete dedication for helping others find their way through the legal mazes of our society. Her intelligence goes without saying. I agree with previous clients’ testimonials about her kindness and empathy for her clients; you really do feel that she is invested in you. Couldn’t recommend her more…

- Scott Z.
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