As I reflect on 25 years of my own law firm and 34 years practicing law it is amazing how each experience has built one upon the other. It has been my goal since junior high school to be a trial lawyer. I have always been an avid reader of history, and the history books I read taught me that many of the people who influenced events for the better were lawyers. Since opening my own law firm November 1, 1995, I have chosen to welcome people of all races, creeds, and sexual identity and do my best to treat my clients as I would want to be treated given their facts and the law. Years ago, when I met Stanley Marcus, he told me to “Practice the Golden Rule – there is none better!” I have taken his advice to heart and use it with every client considering that client’s facts and Texas law.
I recognize that my clients are going through difficult times – issues causing divorce, and disputes involving child custody and child support are inherently emotionally charged and stressful for those living through them and for their families. I advocate for my client’s and their children’s best interests while minimizing the disruptions that can occur during these stressful situations. For almost 35 years, I have litigated and tried complex divorce, property division and child custody cases.
I knew it would be a big commitment to go to law school. I did not have any family members or friends whom I could ask about the practice of law. Therefore I took every law related internship opportunity available to me to see if being a lawyer really was what I wanted to do. I liked each facet of the practice of law to which those internships exposed me. After graduating college in 3 years, I worked a year for a United States Senator in Washington D.C. and waitressed at night to save money to pay my living expenses during law school the next year. That year was valuable on my path toward law school.
When I arrived in Dallas in the fall of 1982 to attend law school at SMU, I had never been to Texas, did not have a car and lived in the law student dorm on the Quad at SMU. During my second and third years of law school I clerked for a family law boutique firm. It was there that I first heard about Board Certification in Family Law and came to understand that was the next goal after passing the Bar for skilled family law lawyers in Texas. It was also there that I began enjoying family law work. I realized family law involves many evidentiary hearings and trials. Family law is always interesting and allows me to help people, even during some of the most emotionally stressful times of their lives.
While all of that exposure to the law, my coursework and life experiences were valuable, law school was still very difficult. It took perseverance and determination to meet my goal to graduate law school, pass the bar and become a trial lawyer.
Like all young lawyers, some of my early jobs were filled with educational experiences I did not want to repeat. Nevertheless, the attorneys in my family law clerkship encouraged me to take the opportunity to work with a highly experienced Board Certified trial lawyer. From him I learned all the things law school did not teach me. There were three maxims he taught that I continue to live by: 1) If you are prepared and the law and the evidence are in your favor either you will do well in court or your opponent will settle because they do not want to deal with you; 2) Know how to do what you are asking your subordinates to do; and 3) Don’t panic over the problem, find a solution to the problem.
In December of 1992 I passed the Board Certification Exam in Family Law. That was my biggest goal after passing the bar. Achieved! In a few short years I had met the qualification required to take the Specialization Exam and became one of fewer than 1% of attorneys in Texas who are Board Certified in Family Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.
In 1995, I opened my own office on my 35th birthday. It was never my goal to own my law firm. I was a history major and never had a business class in my life. I began my “business education” by reading books written by Carl Sewell and Stanley Marcus. Other books, seminars and friends added to that education over the years. Customer service, treating my clients as I would want to be treated in the same circumstances and continued goal setting were some of the lessons I learned.
I was very fortunate with my first office. I sublet a full-size office that had been used for storage in a very nice building on Turtle Creek Boulevard. The landlord said if I moved the boxes into his storage facility, I could have the furniture that was in the room. The rent was $500 per month, the furniture was beautiful, and I still use all of it today. Later on, that same landlord allowed me to use his highly experienced legal assistant by the hour when she was not busy with his work. Without the financial stress of paying a staff person full time I had a highly experienced and wise legal assistant able to proof my work, create necessary closing documents and help prepare for hearings and trials. Her assistance and experience added greatly to my practice in a manner I could afford.
Shortly after I opened my own office, I was asked to write the civil evidence case summary of the prior year’s cases for the Texas Tech Law Review. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to have a published law review article as I had not been on law review at SMU. Publishing a law review article gave me a bit more credibility as a lawyer, especially as I was establishing my own law firm.
In 2008 I was nominated by a friend to join the Annette Stewart Inns of Court. With that group I traveled to Washington D.C. to be sworn in to the United States Supreme Court Bar in April 2016. Although I had attended several Supreme Court arguments in prior years, it was an affirming experience to realize that I had indeed reached my childhood goal of being a lawyer, am living the life of a trial lawyer and could now argue a case before the United States Supreme Court. Our daughter was able to make the trip with me and I was thrilled to share that moment with her.
In 2020 I was pleased begin a formal Of Counsel relationship with Siebman Forrest Burg & Smith, LLP. Clyde M. Siebman and I joined forces to turn our long-standing friendship, beginning as law school classmates at SMU, into a mutual business partnership, benefiting the clients of both firms in the courtroom and in dispute resolution. In effect, a powerful one-two punch can be leveraged on our clients’ behalf involving civil litigation and intellectual property cases along with community property issues, marital agreements, divorces and custody cases.
Over the years I have learned that having my Board Certification in Family Law positively effected my professional career by enhancing my credibility and reputation in family law and indicated to others that I had the experience to tackle complicated cases. All of which are valuable both inside and outside the courtroom. I look forward to serving my clients for the next 10 years.
If you need to consult with a Family Law attorney, you can contact us at 214-303-0142, or contact us online.
Attorney Carol Wilson believes that quality legal representation means using the Golden Rule with clients: treat your clients as you would want to be treated.
She advocates tirelessly for her client’s and the children’s best interests and strives to minimize the disruptions that can occur in inherently emotionally charged situations. With over 30 years of experience, Carol knows that moving the case forward toward a thorough resolution is usually best for her clients. Virtually all cases in North Texas will go to Mediation before a final trial is necessary. Carol has learned to use Mediation to achieve positive outcomes for her clients. Mediation is more productive as it allows the parties to choose the outcome they are willing to live with as opposed to a judge imposed decision, and is usually less time, money and emotionally costly. However, if mediation does not work, Carol is a highly skilled trial lawyer and has been recognized by her peers for her expertise and ability to deliver results. She believes that part of her job is to educate clients regarding the law and what it rightfully provides with their facts, as well as to help them avoid the problems common in emotionally stressful circumstances.
Carol’s vast network includes forensic certified public accountants, specialists in other legal fields such as oil & gas, real estate, tax and appellate. These experts can be called upon to bring a case to successful conclusion when Carol’s clients’ facts involve a distinct area of the law. Carol knows that the legal system cannot solve all of her client’s problems and takes care to advise them of the likelihood of achieving their goals based on their evidence and the relevant law. She connects them with experts that can assist them in finding solutions to non-legal issues they may have.
Above all Carol believes in responding to her clients:
Carol serves on the Advisory Board of The Dallas Women Lawyers, which recently celebrated its 50th anniversary. To celebrate that milestone, the DWLA produced a video (excerpted above) and interviewed Carol, who served as DWLA president in 1992.
In a radio interview, Carol discusses the perils of compromising emails and texts in family law matters.
3710 Rawlins, Suite 975, Dallas, TX 75219