Originally published in Sun Sentinel.

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Family law attorney sees bigger picture as stakeholder in the firm

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Who: Eddie Stephens, a marital and family law attorney with Ward Damon PL since April 2013, was named an Equity Partner earlier this year in West Palm Beach. Becoming a steakholder in the firm has expanded his role greatly, says Stephens. Not only does he continue to serve clients, but now he is a part of a team of decision-makers that help formulate policy that guides the firm of sixty-plus employees.

Resume

Experience: I have been practicing family law for my entire 18-year career. I had my own firm in the past and managed a staff of five.

Education: Stetson University College of Law, St. Petersburg (J.D., 1997); University of Miami, Miami (B.B.A. Computer Information Systems, 1994)

Myth-busting 

What don’t people know about this job: It’s hard.

Pick your battles, and how to fight them: People who hire aggressive divorce attorneys typically do not fare as well as those who hire problem solvers who guide the client through the experience with the least financial and emotional damage.

On the job strategies

Typical day: Putting out fires of varying magnitudes.

What’s new: Now, it’s common for both spouses to have “high powered” or professional careers. This means that it used to be much easier for the spouse who raised children to get alimony. Now it’s not as clear-cut.

One of my first jobs primed me for the real world: As a summer camp counselor, the experience of being in charge of unruly eight-year-olds has proven to be invaluable in resolving high conflict family law issues.

Advice to young professionals: Credibility is everything.  It can take an entire career to build it, and one mistake to destroy it.

Industry wisdom: It is very easy for Family Law attorneys to burn out.  It’s important to take steps to balance out the stress so you can remain an objective, competent guide.

 

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