Monday, May 02, 2011

The Essence of Divorce

Here's a new one on me: apparently accountants now have their own scheme for qualifying as mediators in divorce cases (okay, maybe it has been going on forever and I am just catching up).  Anyway, as someone who first qualified for the bar 43 years ago, I'd say this probably makes more sense than most lawyers would like to admit.  I taught the marital property course at the law school a few years back.  It didn't work all that well: most of the women thought I reminded them of the ex husband they were struggling to get out of their mind. And for my part, I came to see more and more that the course really didn't belong in the "family law" curriculum at all: it really belonged in the same column as all the courses on business planning and suchlike where the student is supposed to know (or learn) about tax rates, depreciation, stepped-up basis, that sort of stuff.  I won't say accountants are uniquely qualified for this sort of thing--heaven knows there re plenty of mediocre accountants.  But on the whole, I suspect they do just as well as, or better than, the lawyers do.

Context note: I know that at the megafirm level, there has been a tectonic movement of convergence between lawyers and accountants--or there was until it suffered a crippling setback 10 years ago from the knaves at Enron.  Or perhaps it has been supplanted by the convergence between lawyers and investment bankers.  At any rate, this divorce stuff might qualify as just a minor subset of the same.  

Footnote: My friend George, a bankruptcy type, likes to say that the difference between bankruptcy and divorce is that bankruptcy lawyers understand that it's only money.

1 comment:

Ebenezer Scrooge said...

Your friend George is wrong. Both bankruptcy and matrimonial lawyers understand that it is only about the money. The difference is with the clients. Creditors committees understand that it is only about the money. Divorcing spouses often want something else: justice, vindication, or revenge. And a good matrimonial lawyer will get them back to the benjamins.