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Get To Know Family Law Attorney James Cote

What drew you to a family law practice?

I have always had a general practice comprised of family law, estate planning, civil litigation, and real estate law. Over time I have come to believe that in family law, you can be more than a lawyer assessing and advising a client on their legal rights. You can help an individual through one of the most stressful experiences in life. It is very rewarding to know you’ve helped someone through such a difficult time.

While rewarding, it can also be quite difficult to go through these events with your clients. One of the biggest challenges for attorneys is when one or both parties are set on making the process as difficult as possible in a self-defeating attempt to hurt the other party.

There are no typical tasks in family law. Each day brings a new issue from the clients that must be resolved, from a missed custody exchange to a dispute about how to handle custody over a holiday to one party taking money out of a joint account.

The family law field is, unfortunately, growing, and the growth is for two reasons. First, more people are getting divorced. The other reason is that it is difficult to stay in this field, so there is a decent amount of turnover. It takes a certain type of attorney to practice primarily family law. I have come to realize that I am that certain type of lawyer who thrives in this field.

What is the biggest lesson you have learned from your time as an attorney?

The biggest lesson I pass on to clients and friends is that it is never wise to wait to utilize the services of an attorney. I find that people in general procrastinate on many important decisions. For example, in the field of estate planning, not enough people have a proper estate plan established so that when they die it takes a lot more time and effort and expense for the client to repair the issues that a good estate plan would have solved earlier in the process. Same holds true for home buyers. Many buyers do not retain an attorney to protect their interests when purchasing a home. Then when problems occur in the process and the person then retains an attorney the costs are much greater for the attorney to be involved after the problems occur. The lesson is to retain an attorney early on in any situation where you need to have your rights protected.

What is your goal as an attorney?

To effectively use my skills and experience to help clients achieve their specific outcome in a matter. I expect to use the following skills to provide the best representation I can. Those skills are possessing good oral and written communication, use of judgment, deploying analytical and research skills, strive to persevere, be creative and always think logically not emotionally. It is my goal to utilize those skills to be an effective advocate for my clients.