What is it like to be a Manhattan divorce lawyer?
Is it any different than being a Brooklyn divorce lawyer or being a matrimonial attorney in any other borough of New York City? I was asked this question the other day, and having the experience of being a Manhattan divorce lawyer for the past twelve years, I can confidently say that there is a significant difference. The clients are different, the courts are different, the judges are different and the way the cases are decided is also different as you examine each borough.
Manhattan divorce lawyers, and by this I mean attorneys whose practice focuses on divorce and family law and whose primary office is in Manhattan, will confirm that Manhattan is one of the most diverse and challenging boroughs in New York for divorce and family law. The clients come from all kinds of financial and ethnic backgrounds. There are also many different types of lifestyles and you truly never know what you can expect to hear during a consultation. Manhattan divorce lawyers also learn very quickly that you should never judge the book by its cover when it comes to clients. In this borough, a client wearing jeans and a t-shirt can be the CEO of a new tech startup worth millions that is now part of equitable distribution and another client wearing a business suit can be an administrative assistance barely able to afford to live in this city. Divorce lawyers in other NYC boroughs can certainly expect to encounter the same client diversity, but I find that when it comes to clients, Manhattan is the opposite of “where what you see is what you get.”
Another difference is with Supreme Courts in Manhattan and other boroughs that handle matrimonial actions. Manhattan divorce lawyers will affirm that the court of each borough has a unique set of rules that vary even by different judge’s part and familiarity with those rules is critical to being able to navigate the procedures of each court. This is why it’s a very good idea to hire an attorney that has experience handling divorce and family matters before the court of the specific borough where your case will take place. That is not to say that divorce lawyers with offices outside of Manhattan do not know the procedure in Manhattan, but to emphasize that it’s important to make sure that your attorney has this familiarity before making your decision to retain.
Is it more prestigious to be a Manhattan divorce lawyer? Many clients may think so, but the attorneys practicing law everyday know better. Your office address certainly does not have any reflection on what kind of an attorney you are and how competent you may be. NYC is a big place but to those of us who practice divorce and family law, it’s a small village where everyone knows each other. Regardless where your office is and if you consider yourself a “Manhattan divorce lawyer” or a “Brooklyn divorce lawyer”, it’s your skills and your abilities that make you a good advocate, not your office location.