I spent Mother’s Day weekend in the town where I grew up, visiting my folks. On the drive eastbound home to Boston this morning along the Massachusetts Turnpike, I spotted the sign, hanging from an overpass somewhere past the Charlton service area. Rigged from a white tarpaulin or a bed sheet, it bore the following words, spray-painted in crude red letters:
LAWYERS WANT CUSTODY BATTLES
As I drove on, I thought about the person who painted the large red words and hung the handmade sign above the lanes of cars below in defiance of local authorities. It was not hard to imagine what circumstances drove him or her, on Mother’s Day weekend, to declare war on a system they believed pits parents against each other in a pitched battle for their children.
It might be easy to dismiss the messenger as a lone crackpot with a can of spray paint – except that this is the objection I hear all too often from mediation clients when I remind them how important independent legal advice can be as they weigh the difficult decisions they face. No, they insist, lawyers will make things worse.
A lawyer myself, this depresses me. What happened to make people think the worst of lawyers, to believe that lawyers provoke not resolve conflict? And what are we going to do to change their minds?