Hopeless Romantic

Hopeless Romantic

Natalie gregg likes tidy endings. Sure, divorce is a messy procedure, however her aim is a harmonious settlement that encourages high quality co-parenting. Still, part of the allen circle of relatives law legal professional’s task is to give her clients a truth check. “i inform humans that divorce is a loss of life,” she says. “it’s the demise of a portion of your existence. That’s when they prevent and cry. But i want them to well known that it’s not simply tonsillitis. I ought to alternate my kleenex container every day.” gregg’s customers—or their stay-at-domestic spouses—are broadly speaking fantastically educated specialists with large estates who're normally in their first marriages. Her maximum beneficial customers are collin county millionaires: doctors, dentists, engineers and company executives. Similarly to couples who definitely fell out of love, there are white-collar career types with serial-cheating spouses, and others who’ve continued years of emotional abuse. A few come to her in a delicate nation, outlining their conditions and asking, “i should get divorced, right?” until abuse or crime is involved, gregg won’t attempt to make that selection. Her position is to concentrate and assist her clients meet their desires. “i can not choose for you,” she says. “i can no longer walk for you. I'm able to’t be in your footwear. However much like a doctor, if someone’s no longer going to take the antibiotic, you may’t do some thing for them.” as soon as the client makes a decision, gregg places her bold energies into seeking to clear up things lengthy before the case finally ends up in a court. “she continues her eye at the ball, and he or she’s affordable,” says circle of relatives legal professional ike vanden eykel, ceo of koonsfuller in dallas, whose company contends with gregg on a month-to-month basis. “a few humans make unreasonable needs at all times, and those are lawyers you can disregard pretty fast—however that’s no longer the case here. She’s very capable of attain accords. We don’t have the huge fights i'm able to inform you approximately because we’re able to work together and get matters executed.” but she’s also tough. On a recent day in a downtown dallas courtroom, gregg, wavy jet-black hair pulled again in a ponytail, civilly but forcefully digs in her heels as she and opposing recommend method the bench. “they’re trying to make all of it about cash and child guide,” she tells the decide. Within the interim, her consumer’s most important problem is a afflicted daughter with falling grades, who has reduce off contact with her mom, and who has been missing university-prep tutoring periods even as staying together with her rich father. Just yesterday afternoon, the girl’s mom learned that her daughter had just started seeing a brand new counselor and taking medication—without the mom’s input. “there’s no co-parenting going on here,” gregg says. The decide grants gregg’s motion for a hearing continuance to procedure the brand new information and strategize. Later, outside the court, gregg meets along with her customer, thrilled with the end result. “we were given what we wanted,” she says. Jessica perroni, gregg’s senior accomplice, chimes in: “she did right.” asked whether or not gregg’s lawyering style is greater forceful or constrained, ken koonce, her former boss, chuckles. “i might surely placed her extra at the competitive give up of the scale,” says koonce, who employed gregg at a dallas nonprofit legal-aid center about 10 years ago. “however she’s continually courteous. She’s rely-of-truth, like: ‘this is what we want, and that is why we think we’re going to get it.’ she just addresses problems head-on, and she doesn’t mince words.” there’s a softer facet to gregg, too. Over lunch, she exclaims over images of her currently acquired bichon frise, which she’s named tinkerbell. The canine became a gift for her 37th birthday. In regulation college, she had another bichon, named bella. She also has a penchant for glad endings. “i love disney films and romantic comedies and something that ends nicely,” says gregg. “i’m a hopeless romantic trapped in a divorce lawyer’s body.” in regulation college, comparisons had been made to a famous movie. “human beings stated, ‘you’re like a brunette legally blonde,’” she says. That preference for glad endings may be why she gravitated closer to collaborative law, wherein divorcing spouses comply with settle topics privately, far from the court. Even as it’s now not for everybody, gregg believes couples who make use of the procedure commonly spend less cash and obtain higher consequences and co-parenting situations. Going to court docket isn’t continually what human beings anticipate. “there are so many terrible outcomes,” gregg says. “they’re like, ‘i want my day in courtroom.’ i say, ‘what does that imply to you? It’s now not going to be pretty. It’s going to be he-stated, she-stated. , it’s no longer going to be regulation & order; it’s not going to be matlock.’” customers who pick out the collaborative process could make selections for themselves. “there are not any constraints,” gregg says. “it’s as big or as constrained as their imaginations.” collaborative divorce is a group approach, regarding mental-fitness and economic professionals. The drawback is that, if clients in the long run determine to pursue litigation, they may be required to hire new lawyers. “i’ve received private facts in a protective putting,” she explains. “that could provide me undue gain.” gregg, who was commemorated via the national academy of circle of relatives law attorneys in 2014 as one in every of texas’ top 10 circle of relatives legal professionals beneath forty, blogs for sites which include stackstreet and the huffington publish on problems ranging from era’s impact on married relationships to who should get the marriage jewelry in a divorce (commonly the individual whose finger they were on). Born in honolulu to a military health practitioner dad and homemaker mother with a grasp’s diploma in humanities—“she cooked like a rock megastar,” gregg says—she grew up in dallas and attended catholic colleges all of the manner via high college. Established to brown, she as a substitute opted for san antonio’s trinity university to be closer to her boyfriend, now husband, jeremy gregg, before transferring to dallas’ southern methodist college. She graduated magna cum laude in 2000. Gregg concept about taking a destroy earlier than regulation school, but her dad, who had a modest upbringing and graduated at the top of his clinical magnificence at northwestern, had other thoughts. “he stated, ‘in case you really want to do it, you’re going to do it now,’” gregg says. After which he split her credit cards. She worked her manner via smu’s dedman faculty of regulation as a train, hostess and regulation clerk, which include running full time at a company at some stage in her very last year. Her first process out of school became with a firm centered on scientific malpractice defense. She felt unfulfilled. “i was usually the maximum hated man or woman in the room,” she says. In the meantime, she’d been volunteering at a church-run legal sanatorium in dallas. “all our consumption changed into family regulation,” she says. “spouses doing crazy matters. People needed assist. I used to be involved. I notion, that is what i need to be doing.” a yr later, she did simply that, taking a task with the criminal services arm of nonprofit primary dallas ministries—now citysquare—and buying and selling a sixty fourth-floor office for a table with an old pc and all of the own family-law instances she could deal with. This system offered unfastened and low-price prison aid to the needy; gregg have become certainly one of only a few lawyers working for director koonce. “my first day there i asked, ‘in which’s the man who does my faxes?’” she remembers. “and they stated, ‘that could be you.’ ‘wherein’s the guy who does the mailing?’ and they stated, ‘that could be you.’ … i didn’t realize how different it was.” while her dad informed her, “you’re doing god’s work,” she quipped, “yes, however does god pay?” but she felt like she was creating a distinction. And suddenly, in place of feeling micromanaged, she had a chairman who didn’t meddle. “ken allow me develop,” gregg says. Although she remembers suffering at first inside the short-exceeded surroundings, koonce says she thrived, grasping problems greater really and exercising higher judgment than maximum attorneys together with her restricted revel in. In 2009, gregg went out on her very own, initially borrowing space in a friend’s office above a papa john’s; two months later she rented an workplace from some other legal professional. “i constantly thought i’d do it after i turned 40,” she says. “my husband stated, ‘why are you waiting?’ we had just long gone thru a truely horrific recession. But my husband says divorce is recession-proof, that's genuine.” requested if starting her very own exercise was scary, she says she become a little involved going into it. However once she opened her doorways, she says, “i used to be so busy, i in no way had time to appearance up and fear about it.” by using 2010, gregg became prepared to claim her personal territory. She installation store north of dallas in allen, which—further to being close to her dad and mom—was certainly one of north texas’ fastest developing communities. Due to the fact that then, she’s taken on three pals, two paralegals, a regulation clerk and a receptionist. Gregg has a fave pronouncing from the overdue choose r. Lewis nicholson: “you could love your kids or hate your partner, however you may’t do each.” nicholson, a dallas county circle of relatives courtroom judge regarded for his “bah, humbug” disposition, “changed into the maximum unfuzzy man you can ever meet,” gregg says. “he became one among my favorites due to the fact he truly cared and become just surprisingly smart about the law. He had this knowledge that he would distill into these little sound bites.” she remembers the day while occasions required that she get a transient restraining order signed for a client and she or he needed to bring her 6-month-antique daughter to the court docket, discreetly pocketed in a papoose below her blazer. “he referred to as me on it,” she says. “he stated, ‘ms. Gregg, is that a toddler on your jacket?’” he permit her live. Marriage is difficult, gregg reflects. Once in a while, busy couples allow happiness take a backseat to keeping a ordinary for the sake of the youngsters. However that might not be the satisfactory thing for anybody. Searching out for children is a riding force for gregg, whose brochure images a preschooler keeping a bouquet. Gregg says she has decreased seasoned-athlete clients to tears by means of telling them, “i recognise you hate [your wife] proper now, however she gave you the maximum stunning present on your life.”