I have gradually come to see that, especially in family law, attorneys should leave people better off than when we met them.
When my daughter was born, my DNA changed. Her mom had a C-section, which meant I had the first two hours of my daughter’s life outside the womb alone with just my daughter in the nursery. Her mom had had those 9 months in utero to bond with her, but for me, those first precious few hours cemented that she was the one for me . . . Only 18 months later her mother and I split up.
I had spent the better part of my adult life chasing a doctoral degree at Berkeley—and earning a law degree–working at the Los Alamos National Laboratory. After earning my degree, I landed a “dream job” as an LSU professor for a disaster management think tank funded by Hurricane Katrina donor dollars. The job started in August 2008; shortly thereafter Hurricane Gustav missed New Orleans and slammed Baton Rouge. Because I had just started my job and my daughter hadn’t been born yet (she was born in September 2008), I was in Louisiana doing research when the storm came. The storm itself was a metaphor for how I felt—having a partner but unmarried and about to be a father at 35 years old (not young like my parents were when they started a family) right at that moment when all of the professional goals I had made were coming to fruition (but far away from home).
Although Gustav was a disaster for the people of Louisiana, the fallout from it helped me because it temporarily eliminated any chance of me being relocated permanently to Baton Rouge. I returned to California for my daughter’s birth and worked from home for the first 18 months of her life, blessed by an opportunity most men never receive.