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A Blast from the Past

I had the strangest phone call today…

A few years ago, I represented a nice guy and successful entrepreneur in his California divorce. The case involved the full range of issues: custody, child support, spousal support, a business, real property… pretty much everything except domestic violence. He was a great client: always polite, always followed our advice, always communicated well with us, always paid his bill. He was NOT always happy; he WAS going through a nasty court proceeding – but he was always reasonable, knew what he wanted, and was willing to understand the law as it applied to the facts in play. We got good results for him, and he got on with his life.

His industry is often in the news, and I’ve wondered, when certain headlines cropped up, how his business was going. I’ve hoped – in the odd, fleeting thought one has – that his business is succeeding, that he’s safe, not in a war zone, and still around for his kids, whom he adored.

So, when I had a message that he’d called, I called him back. I thought, maybe a new custody issue had cropped up (we’d terminated spousal support years ago, so I wasn’t worried about that).

That wasn’t it.

As it happens, he’d had a strange conversation, as well. He, his kids from his first marriage, and his new wife and step-kids, had relocated to another state – doubtless a state with friendlier tax rates. His eldest stepdaughter, an adult now, had been in my office a while back to ask questions related to her own case. She had an interesting problem with issues in both states. I’d suggested a couple things, and she’d flown home to discuss it.

As I understand it, my former client said, while sitting at a dinner table in another state, “Wait – what? You talked to Carla? MY CARLA?!” So… he called.

We had a nice conversation. I’m glad his life is going well, and I’m grateful that he’s willing to trust his new family to me and my team on this current issue.

What makes me feel really good, though, is not the prospect of more work (though I love my work). It’s the “MY CARLA?!” I got to know this client – like many of my clients, but not all – very well, through an adversarial Family Law proceeding which lasted a couple of years. Please understand: due to the nature of our practice, we are often helping people through some of the worst moments of their lives, and when the case is over, they don’t want to think of us at all, because we remind them of their divorce, or custody fight, and that’s a past the client wants to leave behind. So, for me, to have a client I liked very well call me, happy, successful, cheerful, when my name came up at the dinner table in another state….

It’s a moment I’m going to treasure.