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Quality counts, especially when it comes to lawyers. So it makes sense that if you need one, you ll want to choose one who s at the top of the heap. That s why Sacramento Magazine contracted with Professional Research Services to find out just who these stellar lawyers are.
The voting for Professional Research Services survey to determine the top attorneys in 2016 for Sacramento Magazine was open to all licensed attorneys in Sacramento, Calif. Attorneys were asked whom they would recommend among 56 legal specialties, other than themselves, in the Sacramento area. Each attorney was allowed to recommend up to three colleagues in each given legal specialty. Once the online nominations were complete, each nominee was carefully evaluated on the basis of the survey results, the legitimacy of their license, and their current standing with the State Bar of California. Attorneys who received the highest number of votes in each specialty are reflected in the following list.
We also present question-and-answer sessions with some of the lawyers on the list.
Mark F. Johannessen, Family Law
What are some common misconceptions about family law matters like divorce and child custody?
Most people experience family law through television programs or the experiences of friends or family members. The court system is not dramatic, and the judges want to be fair to the parties and create a venue for people to address their concerns in a calm, orderly manner. The policy of the courts is for the parties to try to resolve their differences amicably, not though litigation. The emotionally charged I will take her (or him) to the cleaners or you will never get custody is tempered by the fact that the law is clear: Community property is to be divided equally. Also, the policy of the courts is to allow a child to have two involved parents, regardless of what the parties think of each other.
What makes family law challenging?
Family law is one of the most interesting and complicated areas of law to practice because it touches on so many other areas of law, with the added element of the emotional content the parties bring with them. It s a dynamic area of law that continues to touch on current social issues such as LGBT rights and rights of those involved in the child s birth and upbringing.
What type of background helps you excel at this practice?
I have a CPA background, so that certainly helps in dealing with cases with significant financial issues. Also, I am a trained mediator, and that as well is extremely useful in helping to defuse or overcome emotional roadblocks, which allows one or both of the parties to focus on the issues at hand and allows them to move through the process with the least damage to themselves and any children involved. As with any other area of law practice, you develop skill and knowledge over time, augmenting with training as needed, which for me included becoming a Certified Family Law Specialist. Experience does matter in this field.