Success at family law, Nicole Fisher says, sometimes means being picky about the cases you take.
People with problematic domestic situations sometimes come to her with unfixable problems, the kind that have less to do with legal issues than human ones. Fisher doesn’t want to take a client’s time and money only to have to tell them, “I’m sorry, there was nothing I could do.”
“Sometimes I have to tell people there is no remedy for what you’re experiencing,” she said. “No judge is going to make your ex a better parent.”
Yet it’s also a practice area that gives attorneys an unparalleled window into the lives of their clients, permitting a bond that is rarely achieved in, say, a business dispute. She may help someone with a divorce, only to be invited to their next wedding.
“You develop relationships with your clients that last years and years and years,” she said. “You’re not done with them just because their divorce is done.”
Fisher’s legal career is a perfect example of how one can find exactly what they are looking for in the place they least expect it. She discovered her calling only after she graduated from the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law in 2006.
“I had never even taken a family law course,” she said. “The fact that that’s what I do now is kind of funny.”
She grew up in Loveland, Colorado, but her family moved to Blue Springs, a Kansas City suburb, in her junior year of high school. She went to college in Iowa and thought of returning to Colorado for law school. Instead, she chose the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law.
“Now I love Kansas City,” she said. “So you never know.”
Originally, she planned to practice criminal law, either as a public defender or a prosecutor. But a one-and-a-half-year stint at the public defender’s office in Las Vegas, Nevada, made her realize that wasn’t for her. As a research attorney on death-penalty cases, she got little of the client contact that she’d hoped to experience.
So she returned to Kansas City for a third time to clerk for Jackson County Circuit Judge Marco Roldan, whose docket at the time included criminal, civil and family-law matters. The family cases attracted Fisher the most. In 2011, she founded Fisher Law, a small firm with a focus on family-law litigation.
Fisher is now firmly ensconced in Kansas City. She serves as president-elect of the Association of Women Lawyers and will take over leadership of the organization at the end of the year. She hopes to use her platform to develop a specific strategic mission. The category of “women lawyers,” once a rarity, now encompasses a huge range of practice areas and life issues.
“It’s a great problem to have,” Fisher said. “But I think sometimes we maybe lose out on members because they don’t know what we do, because it’s too big now.”
Fisher also serves as chair of The Missouri Bar’s Young Lawyers’ Section, and she sits on the board of Court Appointed Special Advocates in Jackson County.