Durham resident Campbell Barrett was recently named Lawyer of the Year by Best Lawyers. This is the second time that Barrett has received this award for best family law lawyer in the Hartford area.
Best Lawyers is a law publication that is based entirely on peer review, according to its website. The reviews are then analyzed before attorneys are eligible for the award.
Barrett has worked in family law for 25 years.
“Interestingly, it was not my intended course while in law school,” he said. “It just happened that way and it turned out to be the perfect fit. I can’t imagine doing any other discipline at this point.”
Barrett majored in American history at Trinity College and attended law school at American University. He said the history degree helped him gain skills in writing and analysis that he uses in his law career.
“I love writing. I love doing research. I love creating, organizing and presenting an argument,” he said.
And Barrett’s arguments can be quite persuassive.
“I represented a gentleman in 2009 in a case where the state Supreme Court established the enforceability of postnuptial agreements,” he said. “Before this case, Connecticut had never recognized postnuptial agreements as being a valid way to protect assets.”
Barrett’s argument was accepted by the court and now the state recognizes postnuptial agreements as being just as valid as prenuptial ones.
Other law-forming cases Barrett was a part of included Mickey v. Mickey, where he established the operative definition of property for equitable distribution of assets, and Dowling v. Szymczak, which established the parameters for child support among families in higher income brackets.
“I work for Pullman & Comley, which is a very unique presence in the family law community,” he said. “We have a very strong family law department within that firm that really gives us a unique perspective because we have so many resources at our disposal.”
These include specialized lawyers from various disciplines as well as several retired judges who work at the firm.
“We are a fully-functioning team that collaborates on almost every file,” Barrett said.
But every career comes with its own set of challenges, of course.
“I think being a divorce lawyer is a very controversial existence,” Barrett said. “I think the better you are, the more vilified you can be by, usually, the other side.”
Add to this the challenge of “representing real people with real issues” and emotionally-charged court proceedings, and Barrett said the job can become very “draining.”
“You have to do it for awhile to really kind of separate that from doing your best job as a professional and not get too tied up in the emotion of it all,” he said.
Along with the Best Lawyer recognition, Barrett was named a Top New England Super Lawyer in 2016, and a top 10 family law lawyer in Connecticut in 2014.
And those are just some of his accolades.
“I am continually impressed by the results Campbell delivers to his clients,” said Tim Ronan, chair of Pullman & Comley’s litigation practice. “Campbell leads the experienced professionals in our matrimonial group from the front, providing guidance, support and direction as they obtain optimum results for our clients in the most challenging of matters.”