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January 24, 2015 Joshua Schiffer

Why Specialize in Domestic Violence?

Crime and Criminal Defense is a massive subject, but (surprise) a lot of it is surprisingly boring.  Seriously.  It is NOT like you see on TV.

Spending over a decade handling a wide variety of issues taught me that some “crimes” are a more meaningful than others, and provide an interested practitioner with a more enjoyable career.   DUI and Drug Posession cases are the “big money” issues that hundreds of lawyers specialize in, market for, and spend millions trying to get you to click, call or write them about.   These cases are also often the same story, time and time again. The defenses are too often “Scripts,” and the stakeholders are downright apathetic about processing another cookie-cutter criminal action.

For millenia, families and intimate partners have fought.  Over who killed the beast, started the fire, pulled the hair, slapped, punched, kicked and battered.  Violence is the lowest common denominator “solution” to conflict in society, just as it is in the Animal Kingdom.

Everyone has a Fight story, and they are among the most gripping tales we have told.  Conflict is almost always interesting, fascinating even, and the perspectives…… sooo many different perspectives.  De rigueur in one family is unthinkable in another, and everyone loves to judge others on how they should or should not act.  I have clients who think punching comes with any loving relationship, and others who treat angry words like a shooting.

And that is why I am drawn to Domestic Violence.  The differences in People, their feelings, perspectives and beliefs.  Right and Wrong mean totally different things to people depending on where they find themselves, and often that position changes over time.   These different angles always give me something to work with, and on, in advocating for my client.

Sometimes I get to be the avenging angel, righting the wrongs and persecuting the guilty while winning damages for the injured.  The next day I am explaining how false allegations will destroy an innocent life, creating a new kind of victim.  Then I go into a Restraining Order hearing where we are going to litigate the best custody arrangment for a child who has witnessed unthinkable horrors.  I have even argued over who gets the Dog.

Lots of folks think that Domestic Violence is filled with nasty folks who are sub-human, dispicable wretches.  People who “asked for it.”  I adore reminding them how many “respectable” people find themselves as either a victim or accused.  And that would never happen to one of them…. Right?

Just scan the News.  See where the real conflcit is.  See how EVERYONE has a family, and a home, and people they love.  And Everyone has conflict.  Every conflict needs a resolution.

And thats what I like doing.

When I was at the Gerry Spence Trial Lawyers College in 2007, a dear friend and amazing lawyer told me, “Josh, you don’t like being a lawyer, you just want to play super-hero.  That makes you happy like a little kid.”  And she was totally right.  I Love Saving People.  That is why I specialize in Domestic Violence.  It is the best place for me to swoop in and make a real impact on someone, immediately and substantially.   Lots of other parts of the law gave me a piece of that feeling, and I enjoy exposure to a wide swath of modern legal practice, but there is something about that genuine thanks from a client after we win that makes everything just a little bit better.

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