Originally published in Lawyers Astoria.
Q&A with Eddie Stephens
Partner; Ward Damon – West Palm Beach, FL
Eddie Stephens is a noted motivational speaker, board certified attorney, married and Father of two. At first blush, he seems like an extremely mellow and agreeable individual. Despite his pleasant demeanor, Stephens has developed a reputation as an accomplished divorce litigator over his 16 year career. Many of Stephens’ opponents have been caught off guard with his technical trial skills and ability to effectively discredit a witness.
Despite being in the epi-center of high conflict divorce resolution, Stephens exudes a calm persona and after spending a few minutes talking to him you can’t help but think everything is going to be just fine.
Lawyers Astoria recently met with Eddie and asked him his thoughts on a variety of topics.
Lawyers Astoria: Eddie, it’s nice to meet you. What makes you a successful divorce attorney?
Stephens: Hi, well let’s jump right into it. The most important factor is you have to care what you are doing. If you don’t love what you do, chances are you probably won’t be great at it. There is a high level of attorney burn out in this field. If you are not made for it you typically go crazy or become a very mean person within a year or two. It takes a “special” kind of person to be able to deal with this subject matter on a daily basis. I have been doing it for 16 years…. consider me lucky.
Make yourself an expert in your field.
It’s also important to surround yourself with great people. And be open to exploiting the strengths of your team members.
Lawyers Astoria: What is your advice for other attorneys?
Stephens: Never lie. Your reputation is everything. Once you lose it, you will never get it back. Treat people with respect. Due to the nature of what we are dealing with, participants including attorneys, can take this stuff very personally. Take the high road.
Also involve yourself in your community. I have been in a number of different “community service” providing organizations depending on my place in life. I am currently heavily entrenched as an adult leader and merit badge coach for the Boy Scouts of America. Don’t over extend yourself. If you sign up for something, do a good job.
Lawyers Astoria: Any trial tips?
Stephens: Don’t throw trash against the wall to see what sticks. Florida is a no-fault divorce state. Most disputes are proven by elements. Prove your elements. Always provide a proposed order with proposed findings of fact. Be prepared. Don’t waste the Court’s time.
Lawyers Astoria: What advice do you have for people going through a divorce?
Stephens: Choose your battles wisely. Many times we end up spending more on the fight then what is being fought over.
Stephens’ legal book “Stephens Squibs 2013 Edition” is now available for purchase at www.EddieStephens.com
Eddie Stephens is a partner in Ward Damon located in West Palm Beach,FL. Mr. Stephens was admitted to The Florida Bar in 1997 and is Board Certified in Family and Marital Law. After starting his career as an attorney for the Palm Beach County Property Appraiser’s Office, Stephens has developed a successful family law practice focused on highly disputed divorces. Through hundreds of hearings and dozens of trials, Stephens has honed his practice by making straightforward arguments that bring opposing sides closer together in order to find a successful resolution. Most importantly to Stephens,he litigates in a manner that minimizes the impact of divorce on children.