1. What Makes us Different: At Webb-Martin Law, our theme is: Be compassionate whenever you can. Solve problems, listen and be respectful. Apply intense, graceful aggression, if you must, but prefer always to ask modest, but pointed questions of the opposition. Encourage the opposition to see and acknowledge their own folly; leave them enough space and motivation to self-correct.
Our Business Model is: Care for each client in a personal and diligent way. Do a good job so that your client does not need you in the future. Other lawyers do it differently. They think you will be happy to pay them as long as they “destroy” the other side. For us, the idea of “destruction” in the context of other people, especially former family members, is unconscionable. Often the only place these warrior attorneys’ practice is in the courtroom and the only tool they have is litigation/fighting. They are closely aligned with the “say anything” type attorney described below.
We believe litigation to be unpredictable; expensive, and an unreliable way to resolve problems. In fact, in years of practice, we have never seen a family healed, or even helped by going to court. Sometimes, and in short order, you need a Judge to obtain control and set boundaries, but the best long-term resolutions to issues come from the parties making the decision(s) themselves.
Finally, our best and most enjoyable referrals come when the spouse we do not represent– the opposition spouse — when they refer their friend and/or family to us after we represent their spouse in their divorce that is when we know we have done a good job.
2. Planning and Strategy make for success: We like to use psychology, not just the legal system in representing our clients. The first step is to make sure you really understand your situation and feel confident in your process. If we can improve your confidence and understanding, we will.
Since you know your spouse best we make you a valuable person on your own team. We check with you for impact as we begin to advance your cause. We want to make sure you are comfortable with our actions, and we want you to tell us what will trigger your spouse as well.
In our initial meeting with you we will want to know what your goals are. What do you want? What do you need? What do you hope to achieve? We will make sure that those things are actually available to you and if they are not available or unlikely, we will let you know that. The sooner your goals align with outcomes that are achievable the sooner your dispute will be resolved.
If we have the luxury of time, we do some pre-engagement planning. We might lock down passwords and access to information. We might line up needed support professionals for vulnerable family members. If peace has already been destroyed we might take some steps to restore it, if possible. And we would do what we can to make sure that your spouse finds a problem solving, peace loving type attorney to represent them, if possible.
3. Educate and Empower You: One of the hardest things to do is to process and remember what your lawyer told you when you come in for a consultation! We know you are usually charged with emotion; feeling devastated or betrayed by someone you love. Even if it takes several meetings our goal is to improve your ability to understand, make choices, solve problems, set goals, evaluate your options, take initiative towards your goals and accept the consequences of your actions. If it turns out you need help getting to this point we will recommend using a coach/counselor to get your through the divorce/separation. Whatever it takes to make sure you feel as though you are the operator, and director of your own life and you have the motivation to move forward.
The other thing we can promise is that we will not play on your emotional pain, fears or insecurities. When relationships end, emotions are hot and common sense is usually lacking. At that moment you can count on us to be level-headed, calm, and goal oriented. We want you to be able to stay in control of making a good decision for yourself and your family.
Finally, part of our job is to find out the information you must know in order to make a good decision for yourself. What assets and liabilities are in the marital estate? How and where will you live in the future? What can you afford? Hopefully the other side cooperates and provides the information you need. If they don’t or won’t, we litigate. But once we have the information you need, we hope to get back to a fair and balanced negotiation. But if not, then we press for a court determined, and final outcome.
4. Our Children are our Future: We will always be child focused, even if at the moment you are preoccupied with your pain or your cheating spouse. We realize that you can divorce your spouse but your child/ren can’t divorce either of their parents. And we know that children generally love both their parents and need to feel loved by both their parents, even in bad situations. We may not be able to convince you– but we will stick to the premise that people/parents who act badly sometimes, or who hurt you personally, can still be a positive influence for your children. And if the other parent is in a bad place, the best thing for your child, is to see that parent, pick themselves up and do a better job.
Difficult Co-Parent Situations. There are also all kinds of strategies we can deploy to deal with a difficult co-parent. We encourage our clients to think of their children’s point of view whenever possible. That is certainly what your Judge is going to do. And if your child has a broken relationship with their other parent our view is you should do all you can to make sure the child has the coping skills necessary to not let the broken relationship diminish their potential. Generally speaking we’d always favor reconciliation. Most of the time it will take a Counselor to assist.
Sometimes, however, children need protection from someone they love and who should love them but for some reason has hurt them. Sometimes parents can become so dysfunctional as to constitute a danger. When is it right to allow your child to “give up on a parent.” Should you ever “support” that kind of decision from your child? Where do you turn for assistance, therapy and advice on tough family situations. We have a list of preferred, qualified mental health professionals (“MHP”) in our area. We are most likely going to recommend the assistance of an MHP.
5. Graceful Aggression, Determined Advocacy but without risking Reputation, Dignity and Respect: When the other side, just won’t come along, or won’t come along at a reasonable pace we will deploy pressure by seeking a Court determined outcome. Still, even in litigation, we’d like to apply civility. The reason being that we still hope to achieve a self-determined outcome for you. Napoleon Bonaparte once said
A good deed is never lost; he who sows courtesy reaps friendship, and he who plants kindness gathers love.
It is a million times easier to reach an agreement with someone who feels aggrieved but who has not been disrespected. If we have maintained, that although you want to divorce your wife/husband, you still recognize his/her value. If we have stuck with respect, it is SO much easier to settle your case and end a Court battle early.
But know that being kind or graceful is not a sign of weakness. No, we are very determined to see the right things happen for you. We are guided by what Horace Mann said:
Let us not be content to wait and see what will happen, but give us the determination to make the right things happen.
As you consider hiring a lawyer do wonder — what is your lawyer’s reputation? Is your lawyer a “say anything” lawyer? Without regard for the constraints of the law, will your lawyer advocate for whatever the client says they want? Beware: those lawyers are well known to Judges, and not in a good way. You want a lawyer who has a good reputation with your Judge. You want a lawyer about whom a Judge would say: “they don’t come to my court room all that often, when they do, they take reasonable positions; they are well prepared; they make their point and move on.” You want that sort of person to represent you and advocate for you.
And so what makes a good advocate? To us, a good advocate is someone that is creative, patient, someone who has perseverance, good listening skills; someone who is organized but who can adjust; someone that is theme oriented and thoughtful; and someone who is a good communicator. The best communicator in the room is rarely the loudest mouth; it is someone who knows well how to use a pause or a whisper. It is someone to whom a busy Judge is apt to listen to. We strive to be that kind of an attorney.