The aspect of practicing family law that Philadelphia divorce attorney Jaimie B. Collins enjoys the most is also the part that makes it a bit intimidating.
“The most terrifying part of family law is that you’re dealing with cases where you’re really affecting people,” Ms. Collins said. “Other than an illness, there is nothing worse than going through divorce.
“So helping clients through really emotionally tough times is satisfying when you’re able to give them closure and let them know there is an end to the road, and things are going to be OK going forward.”
Ms. Collins found herself initially drawn to family law during her clinical program in law school when she noticed the diversity of experiences this particular area of law offered.
“I had a variety of clients from different backgrounds and thought it was really interesting that no two cases were ever the same,” she said. “You have people with all sorts of backgrounds, and I always found it exciting that you never knew who was coming next.”
Adapting to Philly
Ms. Collins, who is originally from North New Jersey, has lived in the Philadelphia area for several years since earning her law degree at Villanova University School of Law.
“Philly just kind of grows on you,” she said. “You can’t find a better cheesesteak anywhere else, that’s for sure.”
Practicing in Philadelphia presents its own set of challenges. Ms. Collins is also licensed in New Jersey, which has a uniform system whereas counties in Pennsylvania have their own unique rules and procedures from county to county.
“I think we do a good job of maneuvering between counties and bringing insight from one county to another,” Ms. Collins said.
Ms. Collins said men and fathers in Philadelphia see many of the same challenges that guys face in family court rooms across the country. Too often, she said, gender stereotypes and biases factor into decisions made in divorce cases.
She sees opposing counsel attempt to pressure her clients into one-sided agreements based on their gender. She also notices occasional issues with her own clients’ attitudes, such as when they decline to seek spousal support even if their wife earns a significantly higher income.
“Oftentimes, getting the client to overcome their hesitations as well as aggressively advocating for them against opposing counsel, and even the court, is difficult,” Ms. Collins said. “There is definitely a bias.”
In her time away from work, Ms. Collins enjoys baking and is an avid runner. She has previously competed in the Philadelphia Half-Marathon and will be running her first full marathon in November.