Family Law Options

Sitting down for a “casual conversation” with Attorney Sandy Durst was an enlightening experience.  Sandy has been  practicing family law in New Jersey for more than 16 years.  Many of the issues he faces with his clients includes prenuptial agreements, divorces, alimony, child support, and custody cases.  He deals with real people and real problems.

divorce-619195_1280When specializing in Family Law you have to realize that it can be  often misunderstood as it has an interpersonal dynamic. One of the most difficult pieces to deal with is the emotions and interpersonal aspect of the clients.  It can be pretty brutal watching people who once loved each other now be at each other’s throats.  The way Sandy describes how he handles that is to view everyone as good and bad all at the same time.  You can’t separate the emotion out of it no matter how hard you try and no matter how often clients are frankly told a divorce is not a vindication of you as a good spouse or vilification of your husband or wife as the bad spouse. It’s kind of more like wrapping up a lot of the loose ends.

Also, the law changes and is complex, so it is difficult to be a general practitioner. You know a “Jack of All Trades…”. Specializing in a particular area, such as family law,  not only increases your effectiveness but also your efficiency, which is good for everybody.

Continuing education in one direction allows for a better attorney, which translates to better results for a client. There is a reason people specialize.


Technology and the Law

The single biggest change in the practice of law is technology.  Sandy describes his memories of working for his dad’s practice when they were one of the first five to have a VCR and a fax machine, which was useless because no one else had one. Now, technology is everywhere. It has a good and not so good place in law.  Technology allows a lot more client access than in the past.  It’s easier to check emails and voice mails while at your kids games as a solo practice owner; however, parameters have to be set.

It’s also now less complicated to prove a case with evidence from a Facebook page versus trying to get several eyewitnesses to corroborate a story.  Clients often take information and put it online, not realizing that when you’re involved in a legal situation, it can cause problems with the case. People should be well advised to be careful of your social media use if you are embroiled in any legal issue.

As is relates to the information age, Sandy describes what he calls ‘The ‘Web MD Effect’ which is when people get online and find a lot of information about the law, especially in divorce cases. The problem with this is that a lot of the information online is incorrect and it really takes a professional to advise you adequately.

Running a Solo Practice

Working in a large company over becoming a solo practitioner has it’s perks.  When you’re a solo practitioner, you’re everything from the attorney to the IT person. But there is also the personal touch you are able to provide to your clients.  Many clients prefer to have a phone call than make the trip into an office with an expensive meeting room. It’s also possible to provide excellent service as a solo practitioner without massive overheads.

 There are Good Lawyers Out There

 There are many misconceptions about lawyers until you really need one.  There’s the one about the ambulance chaser or the sleazy divorce attorney.  What separates the good lawyers and the really good lawyers is caring about clients. You may not always like the legal decision, and it doesn’t always come cheap, but you have to trust that you will get justice.

It would be good if  attorneys did a better job in educating clients about how the system works. Attorneys need to be better champions of the system and be more respectful of each other as legal professionals and to open up the clients’ perception of what to expect from the process.


Sandy can be reached at; 
The Durst Firm



This is a transcript of a recorded live presentation. It is in spoken-word format. While we have cleaned up the transcript a bit for easier reading, it’s not in edited written-word format.

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