Appearances can be very deceptive. If you were to see Haroula Constandinidou in casual clothes outside her offices you would be forgiven for assuming that this bright-eyed, long-haired attorney at law with the sparkling smile was still a student.
That’s not all that’s surprising about her, either. This extremely pretty, petite woman – who looks far too serenely sweet to pack a punch in a court-room – is a powerhouse of knowledge and know-how in the family law field. Clients are enthusiastic, not only about her ability to deal successfully with their cases on a legal level, but also her caring, close attention to their problems.
«I enjoy legal work. I like the procedure of putting my thoughts in order, of carefully planning the tactics and strategy to achieve a goal, and also the personal contact with clients.»
While working for a group of companies in the corporate field, she began taking on some family law cases, and found she was drawn to this area. «I had some difficult cases in the beginning, she recalls, involving foreign women. The solidarity that exists among foreign women in Greece impressed and surprised me. They share their experiences and try to organise things, so as to help one another. In Greece, we tend to operate more individually.
«Family law reflects, first of all, the social life of country and culture – the position and rights of women and children have a strong social aspect. Also, the psychological part interests me. The issues are not dry, legal ones. You have to be understanding, compassionate and caring, yet cool and detached, in order to get things done efficiently. If you identify with the person who has a problem, then you can’t operate objectively.»
The long hours and pressures of her job can be stressful at times, confesses Haroula, but this just serves to keep her alert and is easily outweighed by its positive aspects. «My work is very interesting», she declares, «as it is a combination of psychology and applied sociology, where legal tools can be very effectively utilised. I don’t feel chained to my job, or convicted to work, because it’s so rewarding.»