Tell Citywealth’s readers about your role.
I am a founding partner of a boutique family law firm, Rabin Schumann and Partners LLP, in New York City.
Talk us through one of your most recent client cases.
One of my recent and most rewarding successes arose in a case where I represented a parent whose children were abducted to a jurisdiction that is not a treaty partner under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. Working in New York on my end, and collaboratively with co-counsel in the other jurisdiction, the client secured a ground-breaking ruling directing the return of the children to the State of New York. It was a moving experience when the children arrived home.
How is the Family Law industry evolving in New York? Any trends?
From my perspective, the Family Law industry has had to adapt to working virtually, which can be highly efficient and cost-effective for clients. While we are gradually returning to in-person activities, which has its own benefits, being able to conduct remote court appearances, depositions and meetings has had an especially positive impact on cross-border practice. I think that many of the virtual adaptations are here to stay.
Are your clients behaving differently in the present era?
Not necessarily, but I do feel that clients are emerging from a (pandemic) period where they had to consider alternative ways to resolve their disputes and exercise flexibility, especially in matters involving children. I think that private alternative dispute resolution measures may become more prevalent, as will building contingency plans for unexpected life events into our divorce and custody agreements.
What are the most important skills and personal qualities for a lawyer who takes care of child-related matters?
While there are many qualities I could list, the ability to empathize is critical, as is the ability to think creatively, “outside the box”.
What is the most valuable piece of advice you have been given?
While not exactly advice, I have always been partial to the saying that when a door closes, a window opens. I like to remind clients that a divorce leads you to the next chapter, it may be one door closed, so to speak, but there are options leading to new opportunities, even if it may not seem that way at the time.
Gretchen Beall Schumann is a member of our Leaders List.