Hannah Hembree Bell | How Her Divorce Shaped This Attorney’s Practice

Most family lawyers don’t know what it’s like to be on the “other side of the table…”

But when we do experience family law firsthand, it gives us incredible perspective on how to best serve our clients…

Hannah Hembree Bell is here to share how her own divorce shaped her journey as a family law attorney—and what you can learn from someone who has been in your client’s shoes.

Hannah also discusses her take on work-life balance as a mom/lawyer, the process of starting her law firm, and more.

Mentioned in this episode:


Hannah Hembree Bell: Make sure to treat each person like a person. And I think a lot of family lawyers don’t do that. And why is my firm grown like it’s grown? Why are we what we are? It’s because we treat people like real people.

Voiceover: You’re listening to the Texas Family Law Insiders podcast, your source for the latest news and trends in family law in the state of Texas. Now, here’s your host attorney Holly Draper.

Holly Draper: Today we’re excited to welcome Hannah Hembree Bell to the Texas Family Law Insiders podcast. Hannah is the founding attorney of Hembree Bell law firm which has offices in Austin and San Antonio. Her practice focuses on family law and divorce and estate planning in Central Texas. She also offers divorce coaching statewide. She graduated with a bachelor’s from Asbury University in 2005 and obtained an MBA from Liberty University in 2012.

Hannah went on to get her JD from St. Mary’s University School of Law in 2015. Having navigated a divorce herself, Hannah draws a lot from her own personal experience. In her daily practice. She strives to be the lawyer she wishes she’d had during her own divorce and custody case. Today, Hannah has three young children and a blended family so she understands what families are seeking.

Hannah: There’s four now. So whatever wherever that was pulled from, there’s a baby Peony. So there are four. Three big kids and one little young one. So anyway, four. I can’t, we can’t leave out the baby.

Holly: Oh, well, I’m guessing your website bio needs to be updated.

Hannah: Yeah. Apparently!

Holly: So Hannah has been rated as a top attorney in Austin by Austin Monthly and as a Best Lawyer in San Antonio by San Antonio Magazine. Thank you so much for joining us today.

Hannah: Yeah. Hey, Holly, I’m so happy to be here. Yay. Family Law Insiders, just the name and the name itself. I’ve seen you, you know, start this and watched it grow. And I definitely would think of you as a family law Insider. But it’s very fun to get to be a family law insider myself. I need a sticker. I need a badge.

Holly: Well, thanks so much for joining me and coming inside with me. So why don’t you tell us a little bit about your background.

Hannah: Yeah. So I mean, it’s funny because you listed all the college stuff in a row. And I mean, you know, I’m sure that’s from our website bio, or whatever. And I haven’t even thought about just the academic part of things. Because like, I went to Liberty University for my MBA. I started at a brick and mortar school, and then finished. And that was before Liberty was in the news as much as they’ve been in the news in all the recent years. So it was not like, my affiliation didn’t necessarily mean the same thing back when I was doing it, as it does now.

But anyway, I’m from a little town in northeast Texas. So east of DFW halfway between Dallas and Shreveport little town called Van, Texas. My parents didn’t go to college. I’m, I guess, the first member of my family to go to college. And really informs, I don’t know, all of the way I do my life. And when I first got out of college, I really literally said like that’s it. I’m never gone to school again. I’m done with college, which is funny because I ended up doing an MBA and the JD thing. One thing led to another and I ended up having a recruiting business before I went to law school.

So I guess I’ve been a serial entrepreneur. I’m just, I always say I make something out of nothing. So I did that. Definitely with the recruiting business before school. And when I went to law school, I had those three kids who are now big were small. My daughter’s first day of kindergarten was my first day of law school. So we shared our first day. And my younger son was two and then his brother my other son, Owen was three. So I had three little kids. I lived about an hour and 20 minutes west of San Antonio, and commuted in to St. Mary’s when I went to school.

So I was a commuter student, and non-traditional, and I’m saying that like non-traditional student meeting didn’t just go straight through. So my law school journey was a bit different. And then right after law school, I went into employment law. I worked at a big big law firm with my recruiting background. Oh, yeah, like employment. This makes sense. I summered. I ended up doing pretty good in school and was able to go to one of the big firms and did that for a couple of years. And by that point, my divorce custody drama was very going.

And I had my first custody modification was happening as I was starting as an attorney. And so that’s what really, I went through that whole journey. And I think people who go through it themselves, one of two things happens. A, you run for the hills and never want to hear the words family and law in the same sentence again, or B, you know, you turn back around to go back and help. So I definitely was of the latter after my experience. That’s what got me into doing this was my own journey.

Holly: So how would you describe your current practice?

Hannah: Um, I mean, we’re a family law firm that does some estate planning. I didn’t even mean to do estate planning stuff to be honest. It just sort of flowed because, as you know, Holly, once we are someone’s lawyer in their divorce, or their custody situation, they’re like, oh, well, that’s my lawyer. You know, like in this term of art, I’m going to call you for whatever.

And one thing I learned pretty quick, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist is, when you’re getting divorced, you need a new estate plan, necessarily, you need a new set of stuff, or a lot of times people don’t have it in place.

So we do that sort of as an offshoot of the other. And it’s really kind of grown, we do trusts and some kind of complicated stuff. But we, I mean, we’re a family law firm. So I think one of the things that we do differently than some people is like, normally in family law, people’s like, we specialize in high conflict stuff. Or we’re super collaborative people. And you’re sort of in one camp or the other, or you don’t really take a position. But I think my approach and our team’s approach is we fight hard, but smart.

Like, you’re always better off if you’re making a deal. And we are dealmakers around here. But we can go to hearing and we can do it if we have to. So I’m not like we’re not afraid or adverse to the conflict that comes in this. But we’re not around searching for it, either. You’re not going to hear it, well fine, we’ll just take it to a hearing out of my mouth. We will be trying to make a deal up until, you know, the judge makes it order.

Holly: Yeah, our philosophy is really similar to that as well, where, you know, there’s a time and a place to fight. But it’s about knowing when that time and place is and not just fighting for fighting’s sake. And it’s very rarely in somebody’s best interest to fight.

Hannah: Well, and, you know, I had a client’s dad in a meeting one time, say, son, the last place you want to go look for justice is on the courthouse steps. And I mean, look, that’s kind of a cynical approach, and I’m sure some family law people listening, but of course, you want to go get justice at the courthouse. I don’t know, I’ve been there a few times. And you know, it’s just one person on one day, listening to one snippet of the story. And we can’t expect judges to be clairvoyant or omnipotent, right.

So they only know part. And with that, they can only make a decision based on part of the data. So clearly, it’s better to make a deal to make decisions when they’re still in your own hands, especially when you have good lawyers on the other side, like I love hearing, that the opposing party got this really good lawyer as a lawyer, thank God. So because we know in family law, if you’re a good lawyer, that means you’re a reasonable lawyer. And you also know we need to make a deal. It’s better for everybody if we make these deals. So that’s our approach.

Holly: So one of the things I wanted to dive a little deeper into today is how your divorce journey and custody journey has impacted your practice. Can you tell us a little bit about that?

Hannah: Yeah, I mean, from top to bottom, inside out, it’s impacted the way we do everything, because and I’m in the middle of my second custody modification at this moment. So I am one of our cases, right, even still to this day. So that experience brings a depth and an empathy to the way that we do this, that I think probably some firms just are missing. Not necessarily because they wouldn’t want to be that way. But you know, we’re all like I always say we’re members of a club, nobody ever wanted to be in. And I’m a member of that club, now. Like for the third time, my third set of stuff I’m dealing with in this club.

And with that, when you know, for instance, like whenever we’re talking about going to have a custody evaluation, and you need to go get a CCE done. And just like okay, make your appointment. On our end, schedule the appointment, coordinate it, you know, prep a little bit, feedback on the backend. I know what it’s like to sit in that chair, and have someone I mean, I’m just going to be frank, the way that I’ve had two. I mean, I’m in the middle of a custody evaluation now. I had one before. And in one of those, really felt like the equivalent of an emotional excavation.

I don’t know how to explain it. I mean, it is so invasive, and overwhelming and upsetting and distressing, and traumatic. I don’t know. I mean, that’s the way to explain it. And I’m not someone with a bunch of skeletons in my closet to root out. And you know, a lot of our clients, I do have some things, and I know what to expect. I know what’s coming. I know what the rules are. I know how this works. And it still felt like that to me.

Holly: So do now you dissuade clients from being involved in custody evaluations because of your experience?

Hannah: Oh, I mean, I would tell anybody, I mean, we’re only doing that if it’s a must. I don’t like it. I don’t know what else to say. It is, and especially like if the CCE involves a psych eval component to it, because oftentimes, maybe when there’s a psych eval needed, and the judge is very goose and gander. So if somebody needs one, everybody’s gonna have one. So I think that might be a bit of a difference maker, if you have a psych eval component that’s added in there. Which a lot of times the same person’s doing both right.

And that, yeah, I’d rather skip it. I will have a stern warning for any client that thinks that we’re going down that road, or a compassionate prep. After my last, like one of the those meetings, I was really upset. I was crying. And I had a collaborative divorce meeting that afternoon for a case in my life, you know, at work. And I didn’t really think through, because I mean, I’ve done one before, it wasn’t the same experience. And I didn’t think through hey, in the morning, I scheduled the CCE meeting.

And then in the afternoon, a full afternoon of a collaborative case thing. I barely had myself together. Like I had to close the office door, meditate on the floor in the dark, to really get myself together. So I also learned, hey, I need to warn people in a way I didn’t before. You need to make this in an afternoon, and don’t have any plans that night, and etc, etc, to prepare yourself. So like my experience, and this is a custody modification part. But of course, it comes up in divorce too, enables me to give just really practical advice to people that I think other, it’s not legal. Like I tell people all the time, you have practical problems that may or may not have legal solutions.

So I’m really aware of the limitations of what the law is, and the law does. Really what we’re doing is help people try to work out some bullshit in their lives. And maybe we have to, I mean, the law gives us sort of the deck of cards to deal with and tells us the rules of the game. But my own experience colors that and like I made a video where I make these videos on the computer and one of them recently, probably the best advice I can give somebody is so what? So whatever your issue is, you need to ask yourself throughout the case, so what.

So what, so what, so what, so what, so what with what you’re trying to do. If, oh, well, he or she did this thing. They cheated on me. And said, okay, so what? And then okay, and this. And you keep asking that question, because eventually what the point is, you’re eventually going to get there is most of it doesn’t matter at all. There are a few things that matter. And most of it doesn’t. And if one of those things that matters is stopping you from making a deal, and you have to go to a courthouse, then you need to really assess whether it matters or not.

So I think it I think it colors all of it that I do. And probably more than anything, I think lawyers like whoever would be listening to this show really can lose sight of these are real people with real shit going down. And for us, it can be just scheduling, right? Like shuffling cards, almost like an air traffic controller. I think people don’t realize a lot of lawyers, our job is to be an air traffic controller. Schedule this and this and coordinate this therapist with that person and this depo with this. And I think you can lose sight of these are real people’s lives on the line.

And it may be your 14th call that day about, you know, discovery for the 20,000th time, but it’s that person’s first call on this issue. And really trying to show up with that level of empathy for them, and patience. I think we could all do better at that. I can do better at that. And I know, I know better. Because I’ve been there. I’ve been on the other end of a frustrated lawyer at the end of the day at 5:30 taking my call when I’m trying to get in touch with them all day. And I’m super stressed, you know.

So I think that, I think it works both ways. Like what helps me personally in the situation is having seen cases play out. But like, at the end of the day, things always end up working out one way or the other. Like, you’ll get super stressed about when is this thing going to happen? Or what about like this. And things have a way of working out like with that deadline, it’s gonna work out. That hearing, it I mean, it just is gonna end up working out. And when I was an employment lawyer, my boss, Donna McElroy, who I talked about, like, all the time, she’s, like, lives in my head as my mic.

She’s like, on my shoulder, my one of my, I don’t know if she’s an angel or the devil. She’d find that funny. One of the things too, I’d be so worried about like a discovery deadline, where the client hadn’t gotten us our stuff back in time or you know, maybe we didn’t have it together on time or whatever. And I was, like three days out, I’m like, we need an extension. Oh my god, it’s so stressful. And she would just always be cool and up till the day at like three o’clock. Things always worked out. So that part has helped me in the personal aspect of it. I don’t know just sort of this, having seen it that it’s going to ended up working out.

But yeah, it flows through I think I’m careful with people’s money. I mean, this is expensive, I think as family lawyers too like, people get to us. And they love to say, wow, like, you know, you ran through your retainer you haven’t even done anything, right? I know I’ve done something because your retainer is gone, like, are you kidding me? But especially with disclosures now, right, and that just eats right through the money. By the time that’s done, you know, whatever your retainer is, you’d be about done once disclosures are finished.

But I think it does inform being careful with people’s money, not just working up a case to see why my own self and really allowing clients to have a lot of stay in control and how we do their case, because it’s their money and it’s their life. I’m not, you’re never going to catch me padding a file to make myself feel better. If it’s not what the client wants or can afford to do.

Voiceover: This episode of the Texas Family Law Insider’s podcast is sponsored by the Draper Law Firm, providing family law litigation in Collin, Denton and Dallas counties and appeals across Texas. For more information, visit draperfirm.com or call 469-715-6801.

Holly: So I know you recently started a show of your own through Facebook. Can you tell us a little bit about that?

Hannah: Yeah, so um, it’s law moms out loud. And my best friend and I guess my partner and that is Kate Lincoln-Goldfinch. And Kate is an immigration attorney here in Austin. And we just have so much fun together, just like hanging out going to lunch, whatever. And we were working on something. And I was like, you know, Kate, I think people might really like to just kind of peek in and be a fly on the wall. And some of these, like fun conversations we have. And one thing led to another. And, yeah, it’s a podcast. And I, we say I call it a podcast show. Because we shoot it live, it’s a video and they happen to turn the audio into a podcast.

But no edits, you just kind of whatever we say or do is what we say or do. And we have a show every Friday. And we have different guests and stuff. And then we also do a show that we call a lounge where we just sort of get on and chat about our day. And like what we’re thinking of whatever. Our mission is to help lawyer moms grow as moms, lawyers and people. And it’s been really interesting and really fun. We’ve gotten to meet some cool people. So far, we’re still in the part of figuring all that out while trying to run firms and lives and families and businesses and all that. But it’s been it’s been pretty cool.

Holly: Yeah, I think as attorney moms, we live in this world that very few people can relate to but other attorney moms. And you know, the work-life balance issues, and how to deal with the things, various things with your kids while running a business or while being in a business somebody else is running. So I think, I see a lot of women attorneys doing a much better job of finding that work-life balance and not killing themselves for their job and things like that. But there’s definitely a need for more discussion in that area.

Hannah: Yeah, you know, I don’t believe in a work-life balance, I don’t believe in that. So I mean, that’s, that’s my personal thing is I think that that’s, that’s bullshit. I think that somebody is always losing. It’s going to be you, your home, or your office, there’s always some fire burning you the hottest, and you’re dealing with the hot, really the hottest fire at the moment, all the time. And something’s always gotta give. I mean, there’s only so many hours in a day, there’s only so much of us to go around.

My opinion is I think that women and I think it’s attorney moms, but really, I think it’s bigger than that. I think it’s women in general, I think we’re very willing to always be the one that’s losing. I think we are going to, we’re going to lose first and take last. Because we’re going to do our jobs, we’re always going to come through for our clients, we’re never going to not do what we need to do for work, that’s just not going to happen. And as far as for our home, our kids, I mean, even Kate today she’s out on a field trip. I don’t know at the zoo or something, right.

And I’m like, you know, while she’s got all, you know, a big business to run and all this other stuff, but she’s gonna make sure she gets on that field trip, right. But like, women in particular, I think we don’t make that time to really protect ourselves and get what we want out of life. And so to me, work-life balance is just a way that says, make sure you can cook dinner and get your briefs done. And I’m sorry, I’m just not interested in that. I’m not interested in a life that like my goal is to make sure I can both write the brief and make dinner not for me.

Holly: See, my goal is to find somebody else to make the dinner and find somebody else who can help write the brief so that I can get that balance in my life and not feel like I’m you know, working to death or failing my family or any of those things.

Hannah: Well, right. And I think, Holly, that a lot of women put this guilt on ourselves. I think the mom guilt, you just Google mom guilt and read a lot about it. And it’s this idea that I mean, you and I obviously understand, who cares who makes the dinner? Did your kid eat today? Like are they still on two legs and making it? I mean, some people care because it matters and they enjoy it. Now if you enjoy it, that’s totally different. I’m no,t I’m not hating on enjoy making dinner. I just don’t. I mean, I can do it. But it is just a chore. To me it’s like sweeping the floors. I don’t want, I don’t want to stand in here for an hour and chop up stuff for people to eat and be done in five minutes, you know.

Holly: Or to have my children be like, eww.

Hannah: Yeah. And so I think that like being able to think just a bit different. Let’s get somebody else to make the dinner like, obviously, yeah, let’s have people help us write the briefs and stuff. That’s not the common way of thinking, right. We have bought into the lie that we have to do it all. And who benefits from that? Who benefits from us doing it all, because you’re never going to feel unguilty if you do that. If you take on the burden to do it all, you’re not going to feel unguilty, because you’re not able to do it all so something’s losing.

So I just accept that. Something’s losing from the beginning. Like something’s not going to be going the best in this, with all these things going. So if we accept that premise, then it lets us off the hook. I guess for me, I just I like hung my mom guilt jacket up on a hook. It’s up on the hook by the back door. I just don’t take it on. And I am so much freer and happier. I don’t know if happier is the right word, but more content. Like I really try to wherever you are be all there. I really try to be present. Like when I’m on this show talking to you.

Like this is the only thing I’m doing. I’m not thinking oh, if I could have, should have, would have done this other thing. I mean, it’s like, you make the best decision available to you at the time. And then do that thing. So I guess for me, my heart’s call is to other women and men too, right? Like if this is true, men just don’t. Men just don’t generally do this. Like my husband one time said, look, Hannah, a man’s gonna get his. That’s just how it is. And through my husband is lawyer too. And he’s very good at like, helping me understand the male psyche. What he’s like, oh, yeah, a man’s not gonna, like, getting up, he’s gonna get hit.

And so I thought, you know, I think that’s I mean, yeah, but you are you got what if I said to you, Holly, women, she’s gonna get hers. That doesn’t even compute. Right as something you would like, oh, yeah, of course. Right. So I just changed it to say, I’m gonna get mine too. Some things I want, some things I care about. I’m going to re-insert myself into the equation. And for a lot of my life, I didn’t. So I know the difference in including myself as a person in the factor of my life.

I think, for anybody listening or whatever, if they’re really honest, you have to ask yourself, was I have factor in my own life today? Or did I just do everything for everybody else? Did I do anything I wanted? Did I even ask myself what I wanted? And I bet you, 95% of people would say no, I was not a factor in my own life today. And I’m not doing that anymore. I hung it up on the shelf. I’m not doing that.

Holly: I think one of the reasons why a lot of women, like probably you and I started our own firms is the goal of trying to do it all and have more balance in our lives and be able to not feel like you’re greatly failing your family, because you’re working. Or failing your employer because you’re with you family and all those things. I know, when did you start your firm?

Hannah: 2018 full-time with the firm.

Holly: So tell us a little bit about why you chose to start your own firm and what that journey has been like for you.

Hannah: Yeah, so I think it goes to what you’re saying, Holly, about, you know, this whole conversation is, I was working at a big law firm. And my firm always thought I was at home. And my home always thought I was at the firm, right? I wasn’t winning anywhere. And certainly there was zero time leftover for me. I mean, I remember back then I had one of the like, big square, tall tables you don’t talk about that like is that every home store. Like one of those big, you can seat eight, it’s like this big square dining room table.

And so I remember sitting there with just the whole table full of cases and documents, writing an MSJ at like midnight. And I thought to myself, what am I doing? Why am I doing this? And it just became pretty clear to me. This dog don’t hunt, as we say in East Texas. And everybody thinks I’m not doing the best. And maybe they did or didn’t think that. I thought they thought that. And I was sick all the time, I always had this bad cough that I couldn’t shake for like three or four months. You know what happened to me in this cycle? I barely get better, you know, because I was just too rundown.

And then my own my initial custody modification. Because when I first got divorced, my kids did not live with me primarily. So I’ve been on both sides of the custody fence. And it’s a long, complicated story. Anyway, why, but it was a fact. And I had a custody modification that was a relocation case, and I kids came to live with me primarily. And my attorney is Hector Mendez who like the lens case, that’s his case, relocate. After that, that finished in like May and I gave it six months or so. And I thought, you know, it was really hard for me to find a lawyer. It was hard for me to find a lawyer who was up to my case, who was up to this situation.

And I had a couple of lawyers that weren’t. And it was, it was a challenge. And so I, you know, I liked where I worked at Dykema Cox Smith in San Antonio. I loved Donna, I loved the people that I worked with. But I just didn’t care that much about employment law at the end of the day. I mean, I really hate injustice. But a lot of employment law is really not injustice, it, you know, dressed up like injustice, but it’s really not. So I wasn’t passionate about it. So, I wanted to be passionate about something. It really matters to me to care about my work, how I spend my hours.

So I wanted and then and then I had gotten the advice, you know, how do you know what you’re supposed to do? Well, where does your mind go when it wanders? And I was always like on LinkedIn or whatever, clicking the link of like, grandparents get child did what and I’m like, what happened? I would like go Google and go find the news. Or like, what happened to those kids with those grandparents? Did they get them or not? Or did the bad mom get them back, or, you know, so I kind of took some note of that. And then I went, I remember it was on a Labor Day, in 2017, when I was going on a trip, so my then boyfriend or fiance, then Drew, I was meeting him somewhere for whatever reason.

And I didn’t have internet or anything on the plane, just three or four hours, wherever I was flying. And I always make the joke, like do not leave me on an airplane, with no WiFi or anything who knows what I’m going to come up with, I get big ideas. I had the big idea of starting the firm, a family law firm and I thought it through on the plane. I was like, you know, I think I can do this. And all I knew then was custody, and my only thing I knew about custody was my own experience.

So I started, you know, my own shingle. And you know, the people at the big law firm were like are you crazy? Like, I think they thought I’d be there forever. And also who’s gonna teach you how to do this? You should go work at Orsinger’s office for Mr. Ford, or, or whatever down in San Antonio. You should have tried to get a job there. But I was already making decent money at the big firm. So I couldn’t go back and start at like a starting family law lawyer salary, especially back then. I mean, salaries are different now. But then even, you know, four years ago, so like, now that’s not really a choice. I’m gonna have to do this myself.

So I did and I started out. And you know, the divorce cases were pretty hard at first like, oh, because people think family law is easy. It is not easy. Like things that seem easy in school. They’re not easy real life. I do not think that family law is easy at all. I think it’s some of the hardest law there is because we have to do everything. Do math and percents and deeds in oil and gas and real estate. It’s just insane the amount of stuff we have to know. And so that was kind of bumpy at first to figure out. And here I am, less bumpy now.

Holly: Yeah, I mean, I started mine back end of 2008, beginning of 2009. And for me, personally, it’s the best thing I’ve ever done for myself. And, you know, I would not go back to working in a firm for all the money in the world. I knew less than you did about family law when I started, and I knew nothing. But and when I started, I was more general practice. I felt like I had to take whatever walked through the door. I didn’t have any really inclination that it was going to be family law in the end. But divorces started walking through the door. And the more of them that I did, the more I thought I really kind of like this. I’m getting to help people, I get to be in court a lot, much faster pace than civil litigation.

And you know, over the years, it’s certainly evolved. It seems like your firm seems to have evolved really fast. You have quite a few people already on your team. It took me many years to start really growing my team. But now I make it a point that I don’t want to be the firm where people feel like they’re slaves to the billable hour or feel like they’re, you know, they can’t go to their kid’s preschool program, or that they have to work or family. So I’d like to think I’ve done a pretty good job of creating that culture and all that, but, you never know.

Hannah: I mean, Holly, I know I’m always like adding you on all the Facebook groups everything and you and I got to know each other really through I had that crazy pro bono case, as CJC what we were waiting on CJC to come out if you recall, that’s when I first reached out. I found out about it when we were waiting on it, the opinion with my case. So I know, not only have you done that, but I mean, you really made a name for yourself as the smart family lawyer. I mean, I mean, I’m sure you know that about yourself. But like, the smart family lawyer who.

Holly: Oh, I did not know that was my reputation.

Hannah: That’s how I think of you as like the smart family lawyer for hard cases that may end up in an appeal in DFW right. I think of Jen Hargrave is the same up in Dallas. She is she’s the best, I love her. And I think of y’all whenever I think of I need a smart family lawyer who knows the legal part because I mean, I think there’s a lot of family lawyers who are good and good at it and good people, but it’s not necessarily who I’d call when I need to like talk about jurisdictional, blah, blah, blah, and civil procedure rules, you know.

So I think you’ve done you know, not only what you’ve done, and for your firm, but just reputation and what I’ve even watched happen from CJC forward and I mean, you were doing everything great before that, like you didn’t just all of a sudden know things at that case. But I’ve seen your at least my perspective, family law star, just like go to the outerspace go to outer space. It’s awesome. I would vote for you want to be the president of family law, I don’t know if there is one but I’d vote for you.

Holly: That might get in the way of my work-life balance. So we’re just about out of time, but one of the questions I like to ask everyone that comes on the show, and you’ve already done this a little bit, but I’m still gonna ask, is if they give one piece of advice to young family lawyers, what would it be?

Hannah: I would tell them to treat every client like you’re brand new. Meaning bring that empathy and compassion and brightness of spirit that you have where you are right now as a young family lawyer. Bring that forward to every person that you meet in your whole career. Don’t turn into these crotchety old, crotchety. I was trying to like curmudgeon and crotchety in one. Crotchety, I’m going to call you crotchety, crotchety family lawyers who are just bitter, and complain, and are so burnt out and stamp every person who comes through the door is like, this is like that.

You’re one of these, and our brain makes heuristics, right? Like we have to make those judgment calls. But watch yourself, do it. Watch the judgment call that you’ve made. And just because someone comes in saying their ex is a narcissist does not mean they’re ex isn’t a narcissist, their ex isn’t a narcissist, that’s a thing. And I get so mad at everybody who makes fun of those people, especially women who come in saying that there’s a reason that they’re saying it.

Now, I’m not saying it’s not overused. I’m not saying that people use that word, when they really mean self-absorbed, or a pain in the butt. But a lot of people are using that word because it literally fits. And it’s correct. And that’s what we’re dealing with. I think as a society, family lawyers we know, I always say we’re on the frontlines of life. So we know what’s going on, because we’re fighting in the middle of a family. And I know that I see this huge prevalence of that psychological makeup and stuff. Maybe it’s me, I don’t know that I deal with that a lot. Just given my, my experience.

But make sure to treat each person like a person. And I think a lot of family lawyers don’t do that. And why has my firm grown like it’s grown? Why are we what we are? It’s because we treat people like real people. They’re real. I mean, that just sounds like something you put on. I mean, I really mean it. I’m not gonna, I’m just I think it goes to too like, you can be one of those lawyers who’s worried about yourself, and it’s gonna pad your file. Oh, we don’t we don’t ever go to a mediation without doing discovery. We don’t ever abate disclosures. People tell me you know, lawyers will say that.

I’m like, that’s must make you feel really good about yourself. But these are real people. That’s 5000 of their dollars and they had to borrow that. Give me a break. Don’t be such a selfish jerk. And yeah, is it most technically belt and suspenders maybe going to be better for you and you can less worry about whatever I mean, sure, but don’t I don’t know just don’t be that kind of person. If you’re not, and word gets around that you’re like a real person and you’re nice and you care and you give a shit about people then your firm will grow too.

Holly: So where can our listeners go if they want to learn more about you.

Hannah: We can’t swing a stick on the internet and not find me. So like it our website is hembreebell.com. Hembree Bell Law on Instagram and Facebook. I do, I like, I love LinkedIn. LinkedIn has been so good to me over the years. So LinkedIn and I’m Hannah Canna like Hannah and then replaced the first H with a C. Hannah Canna personally on different stuff. Also, if you are a podcast person you must be if you’re listening this far, you’ve made it this far. You can listen to Law Moms Out Loud wherever you listen to your podcasts or watch our shows live there on Fridays on Facebook and LinkedIn and YouTube and all of that.

Holly: Awesome. Well, thank you so much for joining us today. For our listeners, if you enjoyed our podcast take a second to leave us a review and subscribe to enjoy future episodes.

Hannah: Thanks, Holly. Yay. Family Law Insiders!

Voiceover: The Texas Family Law Insiders podcast is sponsored by the Draper Law Firm. We help people navigate divorce and child custody cases and handle family law appellate matters. For more information, visit our website at draperfirm.com.

Subscribe to the Podcast

Follow Us


This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.