Family Law with Sandy Durst



In this week’s episode of Attorney Talk, Ken Thayer interviews Sandy Durst, who is an attorney in New Jersey and practices primarily in the field of family law. Sandy has been practicing law for more than 16 years and deals with real people and real problems. His day-to-day dealings include prenuptial agreements, divorces, alimony, child support, and custody cases. During the show, Ken and Sandy discuss family law, technology, and what it’s like to transition from a large law firm to being a solo practitioner.

 Main Questions Asked: 

  • How did you decide upon family law as your niche?
  • What was the one thing that made you decide to become a lawyer?
  • What is the dynamic of working with your father?
  • What have you found in your history of family law that breaks up marriages?
  • How does technology affect your practice for the good and bad?
  • What’s the difference between working in a firm and being a one-man-show?
  • What are the biggest misconceptions people have about lawyers?

Key Lessons Learned:

 Family Law & Specializing

  •  Family law is often misunderstood as it has an interpersonal dynamic.
  • The law changes and is complex, so it is difficult to be a general practitioner.
  • Continuing education in one direction allows for a better attorney, which translates to better results for a client. There is a reason people specialize.
  • Specialization increases your effectiveness but also your efficiency, which is good for everybody.



  • Sandy says the break up of marriages is due to a number of factors that are shifting. These include money problems, mistrust, and people expecting marriage to be great all the time and not wanting to work through issues.
  • You don’t need an attorney to get a divorce, but it’s much easier to have one to be the buffer between spouses in order to diffuse emotion.


Technology & The Law

  • The single biggest change in the practice of law is technology.
  • 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.
  • The ‘Web MD Effect’ is people getting online and finding a lot of information about the law, especially in divorces. The problem with this is that a lot of the information online is incorrect.
  • Technology allows a lot more client access than in the past; however, parameters have to be set.
  • Be careful of your social media use if you are embroiled in any legal issue.


Working at a Firm vs Solo Practitioner

  • When you’re a solo practitioner, you’re everything from the attorney to the IT person.
  • Many clients prefer to have a phone call than make the trip into an office with an expensive meeting room.
  • It is possible to provide excellent service as a solo practitioner without massive overheads.


Misconceptions About Lawyers

  • What separates the good lawyers and the really good lawyers is caring about clients.
  • We don’t always like the legal decision, and they don’t always come cheap, but you will get justice.
  • Sandy says attorneys could do 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.
  • Today’s culture of instant gratification is at odds with law as it is an institution where instant gratification rarely exists.

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Links to Resources Mentioned

The Durst Firm


Click To Tweet 

How is social media affecting family law? Find out w/ @ divorcelawyernj & Ken Thayer @gaylordpoppllc


What’s it like to be an attorney practicing family law? Find out w/ @divorcelawyernj & Ken Thayer @gaylordpoppllc  

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