Monday, August 10, 2009

General Update On How My Practice Is Going

Dear Readers:

So, I made it on to the 18-B Panel of Brooklyn Family Court.

How? I submitted a lengthy and extensive application. Then, I reviewed the sections of the Family Court Act (the law in New York governing Family Court cases) I knew and studied for about a month the sections I was either unfamiliar with or needed to remind myself about. I watched ten hours of continuing legal education videos, one on each section of the Act. Next, I sat before 6 individuals, attorneys and judges, who made up the interview committee. I answered their hypotheticals and left feeling like I took a very complicated oral exam regarding Family Law in New York. Lastly, I impatiently waited six months.

On Tuesday, August 4, 2009 I received a phone call that I was officially approved to be on the panel.

So, what is the panel? It means I will have a day (or two) a month when I am in Family Court and am appointed to represent indigent clients who can not afford an attorney. I am so excited about this- not only because it is a constant client base, but also because I will be assisting individuals who wouldn't otherwise be able to afford legal representation in extremely sensitive circumstances regarding their families. This is an amazing opportunity and I feel truly lucky to have been approved for the Panel.

I also feel lucky that I was asked to teach a seminar on Family Law at Hofstra School of Law in Hempstead, New York. I will be assigned to a small group of law school students and will observe them while they perform simulations and discuss Family Law practice with them. I feel honored to have been asked to do this and can't wait to meet my group of students.

Moreover, I am still volunteering with the Volunteer Lawyer's Project - which is the Brooklyn Bar Association's pro bono service. I take on pro bono Family Court matters to further help those who require legal assistance. Every time I finish a case from them I take on another.

This of course is all in addition to the private clients, which retain my services. I am so happy to be busy and that my practice is doing so well after such a short period of time.

I really feel blessed to be able to throw myself into my practice, my work, and to finally really enjoy what I am doing as it's on my own terms, my own time schedule, and under my complete control.

Lastly, I feel like the practice is going well because I have the ability to make time for myself now - I started a book club, which now has 12 female members and meets once a month, and have joined a gym after a major hiatus and have been making sure to take care of myself by exercising regularly and eating well. I feel like the ability to make my own schedule and control my work, greatly assists my physical and mental health, making me more able to produce quality work product. This is a thrill in and of itself. Love it!

For anyone in New York thinking of starting their own practice, especially if in the fields of Family and Matrimonial Law, take the leap - it's a great one! :)

Very truly yours,

Helen M. Dukhan, Esq., LL.M. @

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