But every once in a while, something wonderful happens. More than finding a case exactly on point, more than constructing a great argument or winning a motion. Even better than getting a great, and I mean seriously GREAT, result in a case.
No, what I'm talking about is finding out over ten years later (!!) that the people you helped are not just doing okay, but actually thriving.
I've been feeling pretty happy for the past two days, after running into the siblings of some kids (now young adults) whose lives were dramatically changed for the better after I got an award switching the primary custodial parent over to my client back in the 90's. The kids had been an absolute mess (socially, educationally, emotionally, you name it) before the change in custody. And during the case, I know everyone - parents, kids, lawyers - was going through hell. After the custody order was issued, I knew the kids were a lot better, but still, you never know about those long-term effects....
So now I've discovered they're launching successful careers of their own - way to go, you guys! - with loving family support behind them.
Yes, custody battles are horrific experiences. But sometimes, after the war is over, the changes made in the children's lives - and they're the ones who really matter, a hell of a lot more than the parental egos of the clients - can be so positive and wonderful that, in the end, it was worth it.