J Doc: Pat Cooper from Sadek and Cooper, visiting with us good information for not only the union community, but also for everyone around the Delaware Valley in the Philadelphia region. Pat, if you would tell us how Family Law, especially the Family Law practice in Philadelphia, has changed over the last year? And how are you guys responding to those changes and your clients’ changing needs?
Cooper: Well, we touched on this a little bit earlier, but with most of the hearings – the court hearings are happening remotely – so whether they’re happening by telephone, whether they’re happening by video, they’re happening remotely. The way that the courthouse and the way the court system is designed, it should give equal access to people. That’s how it was designed before – you could walk into the courthouse.
You have a question. You don’t have enough money to hire a lawyer. You want to represent yourself. You could do that.
It’s more difficult to do that now. So we’re seeing an increase in people reaching out to us to help them navigate the changes and to get things filed. You can’t just walk into the courthouse and file something right now, so we need to do a lot more things electronically. And we’re equipped to do that. You know, we’ve adapted to the new rules and the new procedures. We get updates regarding the current status of things and somebody who doesn’t have that knowledge that we have, they really feel like they’re sort of in the dark.
So again, going back to what we spoke about earlier and having an advocate on your side. That’s what we do. We’re there in your corner to back you up. I think everyone needs that when you’re dealing with something that can be complicated, as some of these legal issues can be, and you may be dealing with somebody on the other side who really has no sympathy for your situation and maybe they even have a lawyer of their own. So you really do need somebody on your side and that’s the role that we play.
J Doc: And Pat, what’s the old saying? Anybody who represents themselves has a fool for a client? I don’t know how it goes, but in family law, and I know…
Cooper: Yeah, I can tell you, I would not represent myself in any matter, and I definitely wouldn’t represent myself in any matter other than a family law matter (since you want to turn to an expert). I also don’t do my own plumbing. I call a plumber.
J Doc: Exactly. I guess what I’m saying is that people I know wanna get as much, you know, information as they can and try to do it themselves. They could end up costing each other more in the long run.