This month’s FTLF Family Law Spotlight Series highlights Family Law Partner, Jonathan Dana.
Jonathan has been practicing family law for over 35 years at FTLF with his primary focus in the District of Columbia and Maryland, including Montgomery County. The wealth of his experience is a huge asset — not only for his clients — but for his colleagues at the firm. Jonathan is always willing to sit down, no matter how busy he is, to talk through issues and strategize with colleagues. He uses his decades of experience to generate creative solutions for his clients in a wide range of family cases – including custody disputes, child and spousal support arrangements, and the equitable distribution of marital assets.
Q: Why did you become a family law attorney?
A: I started practicing family law somewhat serendipitously. I was originally hired at FTLF to practice both Federal grants and family law/domestic relations. However, as time went on, I gravitated more and more toward exclusively practicing family law because I very much enjoy working directly with people and solving problems and protecting client’s interests. Family law also fits nicely with my interests in psychology and helping people get through a difficult period in their lives.
Q: What are two things you enjoy about your practice and why?
A: The challenge of taking on difficult cases and making it okay for my clients. And, the complete satisfaction in watching (or being part of) a client’s journey, going through a divorce but yet ending up in a much better place from where they started. I enjoy that I get to utilize a variety of skill sets that I have: advocacy writing, negotiating and coming up with creative ideas and solutions and communicating those, as well everything that goes into litigating, taking on the role as a mediator or participating in the Collaborative process. The professional expanse of what is involved in my job, is really fun and mostly rewarding.
Q: What advice would you give your younger self?
A: I would tell myself to go with the flow and to not be so hard on myself. There will be professional ups and downs in this business. It’s important to take care of yourself during periods of turmoil and uneasiness in your practice so you come out whole on the other side. Finally, practicing is a marathon not a sprint and enjoying the journey as you go, which is sometimes not easy to do.
Q: When you’re not practicing family law, what are some things you that you enjoy doing?
A: I enjoy spending time with my family and my dog, Frankie. I also love exercising and practicing yoga and traveling. Exercise and yoga are so important to keeping oneself sane and as healthy as you can be as you age. I also enjoy reading up on and engaging with others about international and national political issues.
Q: What is one random fact about yourself?
A: I was a housepainter throughout law school—including painting several of my professor’s homes! I had to haul around a 60-foot wooden-ladder. It was a very demanding job but extremely rewarding. My work transformed homes, which made the homeowners happy. It was through these jobs that I learned skills that I use today with my clients, such as explaining a process prior to starting work and setting client expectations.
Contact Jonathan at email@example.com or 202.466.8960.