For domestic-relations issues of every sort, the attorneys of Kardos, Rickles & Hand use honest counsel and strong advocacy to help clients through these difficult times.
Even though he has been married for many years, Kevin L. Hand knows better than most how difficult a divorce can be for those who feel they have no choice but to go through it. He has spent the past 25 years working as an attorney with a practice rooted primarily in domestic relations and criminal defense. Still, he’s quick to note that he doesn’t consider “years of experience” an indicator of quality.
“What matters more,” he says, “are the kinds of cases you’ve worked and the results you’ve attained for your clients.”
All family law cases share a certain amount of DNA, so to speak, yet Hand suggests every case is unique. That’s why all members of the legal team at Kardos, Rickles & Hand devote the same degree of preparation to understanding his or her clients’ needs, and then develop a strategy designed to conclude the case to the client’s advantage.
“I’m proud of the standard we have established at this firm,” Hand adds. “I feel it’s our obligation to be the best at what we do. If you’re looking to get divorced, there’s no situation I haven’t dealt with in Court. There’s no scenario I’m not prepared for, and that is more valuable than someone saying they have a number of years of experience.”
He’s in fine company at Kardos, Rickles & Hand. His fellow attorneys at the firm— Mel D. Kardos, Marc I. Rickles, Marisa M. Perini, and Abigail F. Tuttle—share an “infectious enthusiasm” for their work.
“Our people are a force to be reckoned with,” adds Rickles. “Some attorneys don’t like to go to Court. We try to avoid the necessity of going to Court whenever possible, because of the time and the expense associated with that, but we are more than prepared to do so if it is necessary.”
Rickles says the firm’s reputation tends to precede him. He and his fellow attorneys have always worked to have constructive relationships with their peers, even though they may be adversaries in the Courtroom.
“Even if I have a tough case, it stays civil,” he says. “Some lawyers think they’re being clever by being deceitful, but we treat our peers fairly and respectfully. Being able to stand back and keep a cool head benefits the client. Family law cases are high in anxiety and emotion, because people’s finances and children are on the line. The last thing the client needs is to have his or her attorney losing their composure.”
Above all, Hand says he and his colleagues enjoy working in an area of the law that some attorneys may consider emotionally draining. He sees his work as having one central purpose: to help individuals work through a difficult time and move forward with their lives in a way that leaves them as financially and emotionally intact as possible.
“What we do is interesting; it helps if you genuinely like people, which I do, and I think every attorney in our firm can say the same,” he says. “Our job is to try to conclude a case to our clients’ advantage, and it helps to keep a positive outlook. A lawyer should be someone who can alleviate anxiety and help clients focus on the important things. We can make a difference by having our clients remain realistic, and by helping them to realize that no matter what cards they are dealt they’re going to be fine.”
Hand can say so with confidence because he and his fellow attorneys put in the time and effort needed to make sure they—and their clients—are well prepared for the task ahead.
“Everything we do comes back to preparation,” he says. “If we’re going to Court, our clients dress a certain way, speak a certain way, and present themselves well in the Courtroom. We want them to be seen as the consummate respectful person because that’s going to serve them well.”
Much like Hand, Rickles is an experienced trial attorney who focuses his practice on helping clients in matters of family law and criminal defense. In both areas of practice, he sees himself as a “problem solver.” In family law cases that involve custody negotiations, he strives to solve problems in ways that preserve the sense of family as much as possible.
“You’re looking to strike the best balance,” he says. “You don’t want to cause a war between parties if there doesn’t have to be one, especially when there are children involved. Part of that comes from trying to get people to work toward what’s reasonable. You just have to be prepared to fight—and we are—but I encourage clients to get along with their soon-to-be-ex-spouse as much as possible.”
Hand shares the willingness to fight on behalf of his clients, but he sees his primary responsibility as being someone who can provide informed guidance and advice—even if the advice is the kind that clients don’t necessarily want to hear.
“One of the things I tell my clients is that you have to manage your expectations,” he says. “You need an attorney you can believe and trust. I don’t tell clients what they want to hear, I tell them what they have to hear. My job is to be honest with my clients.”
Hand notes that not every client’s story requires a new beginning. In the past six months, he has had two clients initiate divorce proceedings. Afterwards, both clients came to the same realization: They were not ready to give up on their respective marriages and tried to rebuild their relationship.
“In those situations, I’m happy to refer them to marriage counselors,” he says. “Not everyone who comes to us should be divorced, so it’s our responsibility to help them get to wherever they need to be. When two people are looking to get divorced, it’s usually both of their faults to some degree. Once they understand that, then we can help them move forward, no matter which direction they decide to go.”
Kardos, Rickles & Hand
626 S. State Street
Photography by Jeff Anderson