A bunch of guys chained together in orange jail jumpsuits… and me in the middle
That’s how I was sworn in as a lawyer, on a frantic Friday afternoon 30 years ago.
Earlier that day, a man had shown up at the law firm where I worked and pleaded for someone to help him gain custody of his baby. I wasn’t officially a lawyer at that point: I’d only just received my passing letter from the State Bar, and I still needed to be sworn in.
So I talked a judge into holding a less-than-glamorous bar-admission ceremony right away (in front of those jumpsuited men awaiting their hearings), so that I could represent my new client immediately.
Aided by one of the partners at my firm, we won the case! Winning felt incredible, of course, but it went beyond punching the air and feeling pleased with myself. It gave me a sense of commitment and determination – something I’d noticed my dad had with his own career as a lawyer.
My dad was a small firm lawyer who did big things
He stood up for the dispossessed, represented the homeless, fought for religious freedom and defended people on death row. His work was often pro bono, and he’d stop at nothing to secure justice for “the little guys” – those who’d had a bad start in life and just couldn’t catch a break.
He was my inspiration and the source of a lot of my drive: I wanted to make him proud and somehow live up to what he accomplished. I wasn’t going to follow exactly in his footsteps, though: that first court case made me realize that I wanted to work in family law rather than civil rights law. I wanted to fight on behalf of family members who felt powerless, maligned, frightened and out of control.
I know how it feels to be in the dark – and petrified
A love of the law isn’t the only thing I inherited from my dad. When he was just 38, he had a heart attack – resulting in cardiac bypass surgery. His father had heart trouble too, and died of a stroke when I was just one year old. Then, when I turned 37, I had my own heart attack… while in the courtroom. I ended up having a quintuple bypass, but I also experienced for the first time the true terror of feeling uninformed and vulnerable.
Back then, it was hard to find out what I needed to know about heart disease. I felt exposed, out of the loop, scared.
That got me thinking: so many people end up doing badly out of divorce settlements or custody battles because they don’t have the information or knowledge to help themselves. They say: “The lawyers went into a room and came out, telling me I’d better take the deal – but I don’t know why, or if I should.” They feel vulnerable and alone, just like I felt when I went through heart surgery.
Nobody should have to feel like that.
So I doubled down on a project I’d started a few years earlier: this website. You see, it doesn’t just advertise our services and tell you how great we are; it’s also a huge repository of information to help educate people about family law. It contains webinars, legal forms, statutes, Q&As with lawyers, audio and video courses, articles, and lots more. It helps me feel like I’m reaching out further than just my immediate world – and that I’m doing my late father proud.
This is my new mission
It turns out that providing information, free advice, and technology to facilitate communication really works. Who knew? Not only is it genuinely helpful and useful, but it also allows people to trust us and see how invested we are in their happiness and wellbeing. Many of these people go on to become our clients and biggest advocates.
So now, at this phase of my life, I’m concentrating on helping other lawyers do the same. I’m coaching the lawyers in this firm, but also showing other firms how to provide value, expertise and advice before they request so much as a dime from their potential clients.
I’m pretty excited about it all, and I’m grateful that I can continue “fighting the good fight” in my own unique way.
Lee S. Rosen
Rosen Law Firm
P: (919) 787-6667
|University of North Carolina at Asheville||Political Science||BA- Bachelor of Arts|
|Wake Forest University School of Law||Law||JD- Juris Doctor|
|Award Title||Granting Organization||Year|
|ABA Annual Blawg 100 – Business of Law||American Bar Association Journal||2013, 2012|
|Legal Elite – Family Law||Business North Carolina Magazine||2013, 2011|
|Keane Award for Excellence in eLawyering||American Bar Association||2010|
|Editorial Board – Family Advocate||American Bar Association||1995 – 2012|
|Chairperson – Law Practice Management Section||North Carolina Bar Association||2006 – 2008|
|Steering Committee – Family Violence Project||National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges||1990 -1995|
|Council Member||North Carolina Bar Association Family Law Section||1990 – 1993|
|Chairperson, Domestic Violence Committee||American Bar Association||1988 – 1990|
|Editor, Family Forum||North Carolina Bar Association Family Law Section||1992 – 1993|
|Law Practice Management Editor – Family Advocate||American Bar Association||2000 – 2012|
|Put Into Practice: Risk Management Tips||NC Lawyers Mutual Continuing Education||2012|
|Ethics Panel – Recent Developments||NC Lawyers Mutual Continuing Education||2011|
|Social Media Panel||NABRICO Conference||2011|
|15 Ways to Raise Your Practice to a New Level||ABA Family Law Spring Meeting||2010|
|Family Law Practice Management||Spring CLE Conference||2010|
|60 Technology Tips in 60 Minutes||NC Paralegal Association||2010|
|Law Practice Management Annual Meeting||NC Bar Association Law Practice Management||2009|
|Aerican Bar Association|
|National Business Institute|
|National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges|
|Wake Forest University School of Law|
|Campbell University School of Law|
|North Carolina Bar Foundation|
|Divorcing Smartly: The End Of A Marriage Isn’t The End Of The World||Morgan and Dawson||2014|
|365 Divorce Meditations: Daily Lessons For The First Year Of Your New Life||Morgan and Dawson||2010|
|Technology Audit||North Carolina Lawyers Weekly||2008|
|North Carolina Family and Related Laws Annotated (Annual Publication)||Lexis Nexis||2004 – 2013|
|Publisher & Host||Stay Happily Married||2008 – present|
|Publisher & Author||Divorce Discourse||2008 – present|
|Publisher & Host||North Carolina Divorce Talk Radio||2005 – 2012|