Boy, Does Time Fly By

February 5, 2016

​On this date 15 years ago, I began work in the field of family law.  Little did I know that it would be the beginning of a career.

On that fateful day -- Monday, February 5, 2001 -- I showed up for my first day of work as a family law paralegal at Philadelphia Legal Assistance.  I had sort of fallen into the position, yet it would lead me on a path to where I am now.

For the next almost 4 years, I worked closely with our managing attorney and three family law attorneys, from whom I learned a lot.  Eventually I got to the point where I was doing just about everything they were doing, except going to Court with clients.  Once clients began insisting that I represent them, I decided that it was time to make it happen by going to law school.

In the meantime, the world was evolving, as it always does.  9/11 happened later that same year that I started.  Skyscrapers were built in Philadelphia and many neighborhoods changed as some people moved in while others moved out.  Even in Philadelphia Family Court, judges retired or stepped down from the bench while new ones took their positions.

I went to law school, of course, and took the Pennsylvania and New Jersey bar examinations, both of which I passed on the first try.  Many people, including some clients, may not realize that, though I officially became a lawyer in 2007, I had been working in family law for longer than some judges who are on the bench now or for longer than some of the lawyers who are representing other parties in cases today have been practicing law.  To put it another way, I've been advising clients in custody law since before the custody laws in Pennsylvania were revamped and re-codified several years ago.

I'm also very pleased that all my hard work and prayers have paid off.  I come from humble roots, so my years in law school were very lean years, to say the least.  There were difficult moments in there, where my resolve was certainly tested.  And even personally, just because I'm a family law attorney advising clients in the legal aspects of their personal relationships, didn't mean that I would avoid some of my own ups-and-downs, which also tested me and helped me to grow in many ways.  Today, I'm happily married with a family of my own and I'm very proud to be a respected family law attorney in Philadelphia, two very big dreams that have become reality thanks to God's blessing.

I can only imagine where I may be in another 15 years from now, God willing, but looking back I can say that I've come a long way and I'm very much looking forward to what's ahead.

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F. TIGHE BURNS, ESQ.

215.732.0101

230 S Broad St, Suite 1400
Philadelphia, PA 19102