After a short stint practicing criminal law, San Mateo divorce attorney Michael Strebe made the switch to family law because of the opportunity to personally help clients work through issues that have an enormous effect on their quality of life.
“What I find fulfilling about family law is that I can actually help individuals,” said Mr. Strebe, who earned his Juris Doctor from the University of California Hastings College of Law. “I can individually relate to the cases and the circumstances that are going on in their life. They could happen to any of us.”
By guiding clients through divorce and child custody matters, Mr. Strebe said he feels he is able to directly impact the world in a positive manner.
“I think there’s a lot of value you can add to the community and the world by helping people out through these situations and getting them to a successful resolution,” he said.
Mr. Strebe is a native of the Bay area, having lived there for 32 years. Geographically, with its beaches and mountains, he finds the region unique and suited to his interests and hobbies, which include hiking and running.
Even though the community is known for being progressive, Mr. Strebe said the challenges he sees men and fathers face each day in the courtroom are similar to the ones that are prevalent across the United States.
“One of the biggest challenges is just making sure the men I represent really get a fair shake,” said Mr. Strebe, who is a member of the Bar Association of San Francisco, the Santa Clara County Bar Association, and the San Mateo County Bar Association. “I do think there are some issues, especially with custody and visitation, where these preconceived notions that mothers are better parents really do harm my client. It does take a little more understanding to get beyond those initial biases.”
Even in a region as forward-thinking as the Bay Area, Mr. Strebe said it’s difficult to overcome decades of stereotypes that marginalize fathers.
“The good things is that the area is fairly progressive, but even in that paradigm there are just some preconceived notions and biases at least in terms of custody that oftentimes favor women,” he said. “I think one traditional notion that even goes back to the 1950s and later is that women are the nurturer and Dad is the provider. I think that’s something the court systems everywhere, not just in the Bay Area, have difficulty overcoming.”