The practice of family law in Massachusetts during these days of the ever-changing process and ever-shifting priorities can accurately be characterized as ‘fluid.’ This does little to reassure clients. The probate and family court is awash with case backlogs and challenged by continued staffing shortages. I saw a meme recently on social media that read, “Today feels like January 74th.” Somewhere between that statement and a fully ablaze dumpster fire seems to capture the essence of how clients, lawyers, court clerks, and some judges appear to view the current state of affairs. That’s probably hyperbole on my part, but there are days when this characterization is appropriate.
Most striking to me is the lack of availability of mental healthcare professionals. Each of them seems to be booked solid. The need for their particular expertise remains at peak levels throughout the free-floating anxiety that plagues the general population still contending with the throes of the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to businesses (including law firms) having a difficult time filling jobs due to a dearth of qualified candidates, stock market swings have people concerned.
And, as I write these words, I realize that what this blog is about is to acknowledge the “2nd-line” workers who have been dealing with the continuing fallout since the outbreak in Wuhan in December 2019 and the resulting global pandemic. Our psychologists, family law attorneys, judges, clerks (or ‘Judicial Case Managers’ as they are officially known in the Massachusetts probate and family court), probation officers, DCF workers, security personnel, and others involved in the family law system who show up, carry on, plow through, counsel, and represent are deserving of a hat tip. These past 24 months have been yeoman’s work.
But for me, these are observations, not hindrances, to getting our job done for our clients. I am proud of my firm and my staff for having the mental and intestinal fortitude to press on, figure it out, show up, and provide level-headed counsel and advocacy to our clients who are going through doubly hard times at present. The culture of DiPiano Family Law Group, P.C. is one where we are used to representing individuals who face important and difficult challenges involving asset division, child custody, and family transition. And, while it seems that the tenor and volume of such conflicts are more prevalent in our cases because of the additional systemic uncertainties that the pandemic has brought to bear upon us, we strive—and succeed—in delivering professionalism and sound representation, whatever headwinds we may face.
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