This introduction video features Los Angeles family law attorney Joanne Ratinoff as she talks about work as a lawyer and what philosophy guiders her practice.
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What philosophy guides me as a family law attorney is probably compromise and working towards settlement. People say to me oh, I want what’s fair and what’s fair in their mind might not be what’s fair in the mind of the opposing party. But I strongly believe that people should work towards compromise and settlement. There is too much that is at risk and at stake if you go to trial in family law and that’s because there’s no jury and the judge sits as the court of law and equity in the court has a great deal of discretion. Unless there’s an egregious error or an abuse of discretion if the judge in the family law matter makes a decision that my client or the other client or both of them don’t like they’re stuck with that decision and its not appealable. So I think people should own their situation and try and come as best they can to compromise at least on some of the issues if not all of them.
The one piece of advice that I always give my clients is this: Please don’t go and sell the house without telling me, don’t cancel insurance policies, just run things by me. Once you’ve hired me as your lawyer don’t be going out and doing things that may affect your case or may violate automatic temporary restraining orders. Think and call me first, let’s talk about it, and then I’ll let you know if it’s okay to do whatever you’ve got in mind.
So my background as a lawyer, before I became a family law lawyer and I have been practicing family law exclusively since 1989 but when I first practiced law I did bankruptcy law and I represented trustees and secured creditors. And the reasons I did that was I didn’t have a job lined up when I graduated law school so I went to the law school placement office and they first available job that I could interview for because it started alphabetically was BA, bankruptcy. So that was my first employment after graduating from law school.
And I then worked for several other lawyers that also did banking law and then, I worked for a gentleman who did not only family law but business transactional law, probate, and real estate. So I had a really good diverse background coming into family law, which was very fortunate because family law, of course, covers many issues including insurance, real estate, estate planning and that sort of thing. So it’s very helpful for me to be able to spot issues and say ah, I may need to research this or we may need to hire an expert or I may need to consult on this particular topic as it relates to this particular divorce client.