January is a time of transition, and, according to Jennifer J. Riley, managing attorney at the Law Offices of Jennifer J. Riley, it is a busy time in family law firms. “January is when most of us make personal promises of transformation and growth. We analyze the past year and make plans to improve in the new year. This is the time of the year when we focus on rejuvenation and health, both physical and spiritual. For many people, this is when they begin to investigate the possibility of a divorce.”
Associate Attorney Patrick Samanns notes the role of their firm in helping families in transition. “When clients come to our firm, they are often experiencing one of the most difficult times in their lives. As their lawyers, we have the opportunity to help them through this difficult time and to help give them the guidance they may need to get a fresh start,” he observes.
For this reason, Riley and her associates focus on providing compassionate legal services that recognize the individuality and humanity of the people they are serving. “Everyone’s family is different, and we work with our clients to know what each individual client wants from his or her divorce. The majority of our clients want to focus on settlement, not litigation. Not only is settlement usually more cost-efficient than fighting in court, but reaching an amicable settlement protects our clients and their children from the stress and anger most people associate with divorce.”
It was this stereotype of angry divorces that motivated Riley to establish and manage what she hopes her clients experience as a different kind of law firm. In addition to providing legal advice, Riley explains that lawyers often also serve as coaches to clients as they make their way through the stages of the divorce process. “Our clients often experience the full pendulum of emotions during the divorce, and we are there to coach them through the lows and to help empower them to build their new lives,” says Riley.
Knowledge leads to empowerment. For this reason, Riley and the associates provide free consultations to help demystify the divorce process. During the consultations, which last an hour, they listen to the details of the family and offer legal advice and solutions. “While there are various types of coaches, only lawyers can provide legal advice. Without knowing what the law provides, a decision is not an informed decision,” Riley explains. These consultations also help clients identify and hire the right attorney. This means something different for everyone but, as Associate Attorney Anthony DiFiore recommends, it is essential to choose an attorney to trust. He states, “Ultimately, the attorney/client relationship, like any other relationship, requires communication and trust.”
The attorneys also provide community legal services in the communities near their office locations in Blue Bell and Wayne. They serve as child advocates, providing a voice to young victims of abuse; offer legal consultations at women’s centers; offer pro bono representation for active duty military; and draft essential legal documents for first responders through Wills for Heroes.
By design, every employee at the firm, including assistants, paralegals and interns, is actively involved in the community. Riley, in honor of her grandmothers, is a supporter of the Alzheimer’s Association; Samanns volunteers for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation to support one of his closest friends; Legal Assistant Kellie Friel is a dedicated fundraiser for Alex’s Lemonade in honor of her niece, Hailey; Paralegal Jamie Heckman organizes and runs an annual Thanksgiving food drive; Intern Callie Terris volunteers with children’s hospitals and charities. As DiFiore explains, “What makes us different is our passion and commitment. Everyone in our office is truly passionate about the work we do, which helps to translate into better results for our clients.” Importantly, adds Samanns, “We genuinely care about the communities we work and live in.”