Jacqueline Newman Talks Matrimonial Law and Her Work Ethic
What drew you to your field initially, and what has motivated you to stay in that field?
I have always been interested in matrimonial law. My parents were both psychologists, but I was too aggressive to be a therapist, so matrimonial law seemed like the logical choice.
I believe that I help people get to a better place in their lives. I build real relationships with my clients, as I become one of their most trusted advisors. I truly care that my clients and their children walk out of the divorce experience as unscathed as possible. Divorce is a terrible process, but I like to think that with the proper amount of attention to both their concerns and the law that I can make a bad situation better. It makes me feel good to know that I can provide that service for them.
I love what I do because no two cases are the same, so it never gets boring. Also, because I represent clients whose professions range from the financial industry to entertainment to sports to business owners to stay-at-home parents, I am always learning about the inner workings of different types of careers. What other type of law do you get exposure to the inner workings of so many different industries?
What is one thing about your practice or work ethic that stands out from the rest?
One of my personal golden rules (and one that I insist upon from the attorneys) in my office is that every email or call is returned before the end of a day. It takes two seconds to shoot off a quick email acknowledging that you received a client’s message and asking if it is OK to call back the next day. I always think about how I would feel if my doctor received my test results on a Friday, but did not call me until Monday to let me know the answer.
It is cruel to have me spend the entire weekend worried over nothing. While I am not a doctor, I think the same rules apply. If I am able to spend 15 minutes on a Friday night talking my client off the ledge, then I would happily do that rather than have my client spend the entire weekend worrying that she is going to lose custody of her children just because her husband said she would. I also find that spending 15 minutes addressing anxieties on a Friday night will save me an hour of speaking to that client on Monday morning after the anxieties have festered all weekend. That method also saves my client the legal fees (and therapy bills).
The difference between my firm and the other firms in New York City is that my firm is one of the only (if not the only) firm that has attorneys who specialize in all three process choices for divorce – mediation, collaborative law and litigation. If a client walks into our office and knows that he or she wants to divorce, we can offer the client options so that they can select a process that best fits their individual case and situation.