2021 Foreword (Emily Golisch) and Introduction (Alfred D. Marten)
F O R E W O R D
by Emily Golisch
I have now had the pleasure of working for, and with, Eddie Stephens for more than seven years. He is a rare gem of a person who uses his personal experience, knowledge, and wisdom to make positive changes. He genuinely cares about people and about advocating for those who need a voice to fight on their behalf. As a child, I was taught and embraced the “pay it forward” philosophy. Eddie takes it a step further by encouraging people to “do something that matters.”
Eddie is not your typical attorney! He immerses himself in the difficult field of high-conflict family and marital law litigation. It is often taxing and exhausting, but it is also extremely rewarding. He navigates these difficult journeys with a gentle, calming approach, and a level head. He is supported by an arsenal of knowledge of the law and, quite importantly, an understanding of human psychology. He knows how to read people not only by their words and actions, but by their inherent energy. This is not a skill that can be taught; it is something one is born with, is rare, and absolutely vital for truly understanding life and humanity.
When he is not advocating for clients, Eddie spends his time advocating for strangers. He involves himself in a plethora of organizations that help children, adults, and animals. He has a knack for encouraging others in the community to become aware, educated, and involved so they may make real, positive change too. Eddie has devoted his time, energy, and money in fantastic organizations such as Center for Child Counseling, Families First of Palm Beach County, Leadership Palm Beach County, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Delta Sigma Pi, Kelsey Cares, Big Dog Ranch Rescue, Peggy Adams Animal Rescue League, and the Boy Scouts of America. Children, families, mental health, the arts, animals, and our community: do you see a pattern here? Raise awareness, help others, and have a big heart!
Eddie recognizes that it is not only important to help others, but that is also absolutely vital to help one’s self. He encourages others to step outside their comfort zone, as this is what leads to personal growth and helps to prepare for the step beyond the next comfort zone. Certain events in Eddie’s childhood led him to the teachings of Joseph Campbell. Mr. Campbell explains the steps of the Hero’s Journey and how it is applicable to fiction and, most importantly, real life. Eddie has spoken at many events and gatherings to share his personal story and explain how his calls to adventure have personally led to going beyond his comfort zone, thus learning and evolving to who he is today. It is important to note that this journey never ends and every lesson in life leads to growth and new opportunities.
Stephens’ Squibs is Eddie’s way of staying on top of the latest case law to best represent our clients. He shares his knowledge in an easy, organized handbook. Every year, he chooses an organization to donate proceeds from the sale of these handy reference books. This year, proceeds are being donated to Center for Child Counseling. Center for Child Counseling focuses on the immense impact childhood has on an individual’s mental health for life. Too many children experience some form of trauma at a young age. It is imperative that these children receive help in the form of therapy, friendship, community, and just knowing they are not alone and have a whole world of opportunity ahead of them.
I am proud to call Eddie my boss and my friend. I look fondly on the adventures we’ve shared and look forward to future endeavors of helping people and getting through tough times while being silly and having fun along the way!
I N T R O D U C T I O N
“Do Something That Matters” ~Eddie Stephens
I have known Eddie Stephens for only five years, but it has been a very important time for me to have known him. When I met Eddie, I was a newly-minted attorney entering his second career after nearly two decades in the financial markets. With only a few months of legal experience in a law school clinic, and never having stepped foot into a law office as an employee, I turned to the Mentorship Program through the Palm Beach County Bar Association (PBCBA) for assistance. After two failed attempts to contact mentors, Kathy Clark at the PBCBA vowed to get me a mentor who was dedicated and respected in the practice of Family Law. I would never have known how lucky I was to be; enter Eddie Stephens.
Having had vast experience in regulatory, compliance and arbitration matters, I had some of the tools to operate but had little knowledge of the art of being a lawyer and I was lucky to have Eddie clue me in about where and how things were to happen in law. It was Eddie who first taught me the golden rule: that it is never about us, the attorneys, but it is always about our clients. Eddie taught me how to be artful while still being adversarial.
At that first lunch meeting, he stressed the importance of attorneys and individuals giving back to the community. He also encouraged me to participate in giving back to those who would benefit from our assistance, so when Eddie asks for my assistance, I make every effort. He cited his participation in the mentorship program as one of those ways that he believed he could give back. Over time I came to find out that Eddie also gave generously of his time to Leadership Palm Beach County, Kelsey Cares, Delta Sigma Pi, Kibblez of Love, Inc. and Boy Scouts of America. This year it has been my pleasure to have my firm, Marten Chiappetta, serve as the year long Program Sponsor of Stephens’ Squibs Monthly Family Law CLE.
Each year since I have known Eddie, he has donated the proceeds of this book to a worthwhile cause and this year is no different. This year Eddie has directed the proceeds be donated to the non-profit organization Center for Child Counseling, where he also serves as a Board Member. The Center for Child Counseling’s mission statement is “building the foundation for playful, healthful, and hopeful living for children, families, and communities.”
Center for Child Counseling provides a safe place for children and families to heal, resolve problems, learn new skills. The agency helps these children and their caregivers find the joy in being a family again, with their goals focused on building healthy, resilient children and families through an ACEs-aware (Adverse Childhood Experiences) and trauma-informed communities. The agency assists with the prevention, early intervention and treatment for young children in childcare centers and shelters throughout Palm Beach County, by providing education, advocacy, outreach, and intervention that focuses on mitigating ACEs, and their impact on the physical and emotional health throughout one’s lifespan.
Our greatest asset are our children, and I cannot think of a better place to focus our efforts. To donate in support of our children, please visit www.centerforchildcounseling.org.
Alfred D. Marten, Esq.
D E D I C A T I O N
Dedicated to the Family Law Section of the Florida Bar.
Thank you for the inspiration to reach the next plateau!