Clemson Tiger Football Defense and a Lawyer’s Role in Family Court Litigation

Clemson Tiger Football Defense and A Lawyer’s Role in Family Court Litigation

By M. J. Goodwin


I used to have a bumper sticker that read:  “My blood runneth orange”.  I’m a 1987 Clemson graduate. I enjoy Clemson football.  There is nothing like seeing the Tigers rub the rock and run down the hill.   That tradition just never gets old.  But lately, I have really enjoyed the growing tradition of Brent Venables getting really excited and his “get back” man, Adam Smotherman, pulling him back from the field.  If you don’t know what I am talking about, watch these You Tube videos:  Venables’  Get Back Man Working Out and Coverage from 2014 Bowl Game.  You can see this at least once or twice during each televised game.  It’s great to see passion and it’s great to see the passion controlled in a responsible way.  There are big penalties if Venables gets on the field.  It’s important to have a voice of reason, so to speak, to keep him in control.

This got me thinking about the role of a lawyer in Family Court.  Of course my role is to know the law, to be an effective legal writer, to advocate for my clients, to come up with legal strategies and to push the envelope when it’s in my client’s best interest for me to do so.  But the lesser considered role is that of “get back” coach.  This is also one of the most difficult roles.  When I see my client making a huge mistake, it’s my job to tell the client  to “get back” or cease the bad behavior or foolish choices.  This role is often not welcomed by the client, who is caught up in the emotion of the moment and the passion of litigation.  But if a client truly considers me an expert in Family Law, the client, after consideration, will realize that I am acting in his or her best interest.

Some examples of behavior a lawyer should correct in a client are:

*using the children as weapons or pawns

*speaking badly about the other parent

*exposing the children to paramours

*abusing alcohol or legal drugs

*using illegal drugs

*arguing with the other spouse

*posting on social media inappropriately

*criminal activity

*refusing to acknowledge obvious facts in the case

*refusing to acknowledge clear law

*refusing to disclose assets


In all of these situations, I view my role as “get back” coach as important as my role as an advocate and my knowledge of the law.  It’s not the job of any lawyer to agree with his or her client no matter how badly the client is behaving.  To do so is to fail in one of the crucial roles of a lawyer.

If you need a Family Court lawyer in Anderson, South Carolina, please contact me.  I can typically respond to email inquiries with 12 to 18 hours.  And if you are a Gamecock, rest assured that while my undergraduate work was done at Clemson, I graduated from the University of South Carolina School of Law in 1991.





One comment

  • CU Joy

    What an incredible parallel. The passion the coach has for the game is very equal to the passion a spouse/parent/family member has in a family court matter. They both are so all-consumed by the emotions they are feeling at the moment. This passion blinds them to everything else…rules. decorum, appropriate behavior. It is exceptionally important that we have that “get Back” person to guide you through the emotional and passionate times in our lives. An experienced well seasoned attorney can make all the difference in the outcome in family court. They can avoid penalties and loss of downs. They guide you play by play down the field from Temporary Relief Order to a Final Order and or Decree of Divorce.

    MJ Goodwin is an excellent “get back Coach”. She will guide you down the family court field and get you into the endzone. Trust her and follow her playbook for the most successful possible outcome. A experienced coach has a playbook with all the possible scenarios and outcomes and instructs you on which position you are playing, where to be and when to be there.

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