Practicing Law Is a Family Affair

November 1, 2007

Note: Andrew Grossman is a family law attorney and his profile can be found at:
Practicing Law Is a Family Affair
11/ 01/ 2007

by Tami Kamin-Meyer

Jeff and Andrew Grossman, attorneys from Columbus, Ohio, share more than a surname. The father-son duo also partner in one of central Ohio's most successful, well-known domestic relations law firms. Through the years, their firm has represented some of the biggest names in Columbus, and it's common knowledge that if the Grossman firm is involved in a divorce, the case likely involves big names, even bigger egos and deep pockets.

Not only are the Grossmans law partners, they co-write "Wholly Matrimony," a weekly column about matrimonial law for The Columbus Dispatch and host a weekly call-in program about domestic relations on a Columbus radio station.

Just how this father-son team toils in the trenches alongside one another while maintaining not only family peace but also family harmony seems incredible, but they take it all in stride.

"Families should endeavor to leave work disputes at work and family disputes at home," says Andrew, who grew up in the same neighborhood as his father did years before him. Today, they live just streets away from one another in that same neighborhood. Andrew and his wife are also the parents of three young children.

"Work isn't a place to bend dad's ear about family matters," Jeff points out. "This is a place of work, and that boundary should be respected."

According to Jeff, who graduated from Columbus' Capital University Law School some 24 years before his son, "The most important thing about working together when there are other employees and staff involved is to not receive or demand favorable attention." Andrew never sought special treatment or cushier assignments when he became the firm's associate 11 years ago, Jeff says, and that's been proven extremely beneficial for everyone at the firm.

Not only is it paramount that family members not behave like they are above other employees because they're related to the boss, it's also important "to convey to employees that they won't curry favor by displaying favoritism to either the father or the son," Jeff says.

Andrew says he never thought about becoming an attorney until he approached college graduation, and his then-fiancé, now wife, suggested that he pursue a graduate degree of some kind. He opted for law. Still, it's one thing to go to law school and something else entirely to join your father at his firm.

It might sound surprising, but Jeff says he never considered asking Andrew to join the firm until one day when an attorney for whom his son was clerking told him that Andrew had mentioned that he would like to work for his dad someday. "Sure, I secretly thought of it, but I never wanted to push it," he says.

During Andrew's third year in law school, he was hired to law clerk for Grossman and Associates. His duties included legal research and writing, and trial discovery and document filing. He enjoyed the work and realized he had found his calling.

Another key ingredient to running a successful family business where others are also employed, Jeff says, is honesty. "If a senior person in a business is bringing in a junior member of the family, and it's obvious the senior wants the junior to take over the business one day, it's important to be honest with everyone at the office. Everyone should know that the senior foresees junior taking over one day." 

 "We are not kidding anyone," Jeff adds. "We are a family family law firm."