With Her Personal Approach, Attorney Bonnie Robertson, Helps Ease The Stress That Comes With Difficult Family Legal Matters & Empowers You to Move Forward.
Q: When did you know you would pursue a career as an Attorney?
BR: When I was three years old, I told my mother I wanted to be a judge, so I could “make all the decisions.” Obviously, I don’t remember that, and I have no idea where I got that notion. However, I’ve always loved debate, “gray” areas, formulating arguments, and social activism. I knew for sure that law was right for me when I took a “gap year” after college. At that time, my job as a social worker, while rewarding, made it clear that I wanted to have more control over my career, my income, and to make a more global impact.
Q: Can you share with our audience, the types of law you specialize in?
BR: Although I started out doing minor criminal defense and family law, my career has consisted primarily of family law practice. This includes anything from divorces, child custody, child support, to adoption, guardianship and more. I’ve more recently begun to dabble in using my law degree and connections to begin a sort of lobbying/social activism arm of my practice. Law enforcement and prison reform seem to be a calling I’m exploring.
Q: What aspects of the daily job of being a lawyer interest you the most?
BR: From a legal perspective, it’s rewarding to help people fight for their place in their kids’ lives, post-divorce, or post-breakup. This has included litigating parental rights of LGBTQ people (pre-2015, when gay marriage was finally affirmed nationwide), father’s rights, and generally helping to formulate the new normal for a family in which the parents are no longer a couple. That might sound obnoxious, but it’s true. I have a philosophy that if a person is not (1) nosey and slightly judgmental, and (2) passionate about helping these families heal, that person should not practice family law. From a perspective in my own life, the flexibility I have in working for myself and building my firm has been priceless.
Q: What is your approach or philosophy to winning or representing a case?
BR: I strive to find the balance between being appropriately aggressive in advocating for what my client wants (or thinks he/she wants) and in counseling my client to focus on how he/she wants life to be and feel AFTER the case is over. In other words, when the courts and lawyers are out of the picture, how will my client get the most quality out of the marital estate or the children that came from the marriage or relationship? I have very little patience for people whose primary focus is “winning” or vengeance in their family law case. I’m certainly not above “wrestling in the dirt” with opposing parties who behave badly, and I quite enjoy helping find accountability for bad behavior. But ultimately, the goal is to leave the earth relatively unscorched behind me, if possible.
Q: If we interviewed all your clients … what is “one” common word that comes up when they describe working with you?
BR: “Honest.” I always promise my clients they won’t wonder what I’m thinking about an issue in their case or something they’ve done or want to do. The vast majority of my clients are grateful that I’m always straight forward with them, even it what I say is not easy to hear.
Q: What's your advice for women in male-dominated fields?
BR: I don’t consider law to be “male dominated.” Although I know women tend to be underrepresented as partners and other high-echelon positions in the law, women are entering the field at rates higher than males, and I’ve seen a tremendous amount of progress. As for advice to women, I tell any young attorney, male or female, to find something that excites him or her about the law, and work toward making that his or her career. Also, don’t buy into the myths that you have to sacrifice quality of life, family, or fun to be a successful attorney.
Q: Can you tell us how you manage your work life balance?
BR: I literally schedule time with my husband, kids, and friends. I do not answer emails or calls in the evenings and weekends. I work out almost every day, and I live a lifestyle that is within my financial means. These philosophies keep me grounded and happy.
Four Things About Bonnie Robertson
1. If you could change one law, what would it be?
I would abolish the death penalty federally and in every state. This isn’t a moral position I take, it’s a practical/legal position. We simply don’t administer punishment equitably in our country and sentencing defendants to death is the first thing that needs to come off the table.
2. What would your perfect Saturday be like?
On the beach, with another 2 weeks’ vacation ahead of me.
3. Favorite dessert?
4. What celebrity would you like to meet at Starbucks for a cup of coffee?