“How a Corporate Law Firm Led a Political Revolution; The untold story of Jones Day’s push to move the American government and courts to the right.”

Family law is a legal practice area that focuses on issues involving family relationships such as marriage, adoption, divorce, and child custody, among others. Attorneys practicing family law can represent clients in family court proceedings or in related negotiations. They can also draft important legal documents such as court petitions or property agreements. Some family law attorneys even specialize in adoption, paternity, emancipation, or other matters not usually related to divorce. The matter of family encompasses so many life aspects. Lawyers in the field, therefore, help all kinds of people facing all kinds of sensitive issues that many people wouldn't immediately assume go under the family law umbrella. The following is a primer on family law and what it entails. Helpful Terms to Know Emancipation: A court process through which a minor becomes self-supporting, assumes adult responsibility for their personal welfare, and is no longer under the care of their parents. Marital Property: Property acquired by either spouse during the course of a marriage that is subject to division upon divorce. Alimony: An allowance made to one spouse by the other for support during or after a legal separation or divorce. Paternity: Origin or descent from a father (to establish paternity is to confirm the identity of a child's biological father). Prenuptial Agreement: An agreement made between a man and a woman before marrying in which they give up future rights to each other's property in the event of a divorce or death. Reasons to Hire a Family Law Attorney Most family lawyers represent clients in divorce proceedings and other matters related to divorce. But family law is a relatively broad practice area, including such issues as foster care and reproductive rights. Since family law matters hit so close to home, having a trusted legal professional by your side can help you ensure your loved ones are properly represented and protected during any legal process. The most common reasons to hire a family law attorney include: Divorce: Each partner hires their own attorney, who will help devise a settlement plan in order to avoid a trial. Divorce attorneys typically are skilled at dividing marital property, calculating spousal support, and proposing a plan for child custody, visitation, and support (if applicable). Child Custody / Child Support: Court orders and settlement agreements involving both custody and support usually are included in the larger divorce case, but may be revisited as conditions change. For instance, child support may be altered after the non-custodial parent's financial situation changes. Paternity: In most cases, paternity cases are filed by the mother in an effort to secure child support payments from an absent father. But sometimes biological fathers file for paternity in order to have a relationship with their child. Paternity typically is determined through DNA testing. Adoption / Foster Care: Adoption is a complex process that differs according to the type of adoption, where the child is from, variances in state laws, and other factors. Therefore, it's important to consult with a family law attorney. Foster parents sometimes adopt their foster children, but the foster process does not necessarily require legal representation. Related Practice Areas Family law often intersects with a wide range of other legal practice areas. For example, instances of domestic violence and child abuse typically involve criminal investigations (and may result in arrests and charges). Along with that process, family courts are tasked with determining how to best protect the victims and ensure a relatively safe environment for those involved. Other related legal practice areas include the following: Mediation and Collaborative Law Estate Planning Immigration and Naturalization Law Marriage and Divorce Laws Vary by State States have the right to determine "reasonable formal requirements" for marriage, including age and legal capacity, as well as the rules and procedures for divorce and other family law matters. The timeframe of the divorce process, for example, depends on location. Some states have divorce laws that require a waiting period. Same-sex marriage has historically been a state matter. Prior to the Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage, some states restricted marriage (and divorce) to opposite-sex couples only. Need Help With a Family Law Matter? Talk to a Professional Whether you're in the process of a divorce, need help with an adoption, or have questions about enforcing a child support order, it's often in your best interests to work with an attorney. Get the help you need by contacting an experienced family law attorney near you.

For much of its history, Jones Day was a juggernaut in the field of corporate litigation. A global goliath with more than 40 offices and about 2,500 lawyers, it raked in billions a year in fees from tobacco, opioid, gun and oil companies, among many other giant corporations in need of a state-of-the-art defense. More than most of its competitors, the firm had an army of litigators who had perfected the art of exploiting tiny legal wrinkles, of burying outmatched opponents in paperwork and venue changes and procedural minutiae. But over the past two decades, Jones Day has been building a different kind of legal practice, one dedicated not just to helping Republicans win elections but to helping them achieve their political aims once in office. Chief among those aims was dismantling what Don McGahn — the Jones Day partner who helped run Trump’s campaign and then became his White House counsel — disparagingly referred to as the “administrative state.” To do that, the firm was bringing all the ruthless energy and creativity of corporate law to the political realm.

Jones Day lured dozens of young Supreme Court clerks, mostly from conservative justices, with six-figure signing bonuses and the opportunity to work on favored causes, including legal challenges to gun control and Obamacare. The firm allotted countless pro bono hours to aiding the needy — and also to assisting deep-pocketed right-wing groups as they fought against early voting and a federal corporate-oversight body.

Representing Trump’s 2016 campaign, Jones Day helped him solidify Republican support by pledging to pick federal judges from a list that was vetted in advance by the law firm and the Federalist Society. When Trump won, a large fleet of Jones Day lawyers sailed into his White House, the Justice Department and other parts of his administration. But the biggest impact was on the judiciary. Trump delegated the task of selecting federal judges to McGahn, who — working closely with Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader — placed well over 100 conservatives on the federal courts, including several who had recently worked at Jones Day. Even after rejoining Jones Day in 2019, McGahn continued to advise Senate Republicans on judicial strategy.

It is not uncommon for partners at corporate law firms to dabble in politics. Nor is it rare for a firm itself to throw its weight behind causes on the left or the right. One of the country’s richest firms, Paul, Weiss, for example, has long staked out liberal stances on the public issues of the day (even as it rakes in fees from companies that undercut those ideals). What sets Jones Day apart is the degree to which it penetrated the federal government under Trump and is now taking advantage of a judicial revolution that it helped set in motion.

The power of that revolution, which is spreading to courtrooms and statehouses around the country, is now on vivid display. Even with Democrats controlling the White House and Congress, the Supreme Court has been on a rightward tear. In its most recent term, Trump’s three appointees — the first two handpicked by McGahn and the third, Barrett, plucked by him out of academia for the federal bench — helped erase the constitutional right to abortion, erode the separation of church and state, undermine states’ power to control guns and constrain the authority of federal regulators. Jones Day had a hand in some of those cases, and the firm has telegraphed that it is eyeing additional legal challenges in line with its leaders’ ideology.

What is Family Law?