The Six-String Solicitor

Peter Bryniczka’s life of funk and family law

Published in 2010 New England Rising Stars — November 2010

Peter M. Bryniczka never imagined he’d enjoy spending time in front of a courtroom. But now he can’t imagine doing anything else. “I went from being someone who didn’t know anything about family law, didn’t think I’d ever want to go to court, to realizing that the litigation part of it is something I find very interesting and challenging and enjoyable as a lawyer,” Bryniczka says. “In fact, I prefer the court side of it to the office side of it and for the last six years could not be happier.

“A lot of times in the office, when you’re trying to move a case along, you feel like you’re on the never-ending e-mail hamster wheel,” he continues. Though he understands the necessity of that part of the job, he lives for the time spent in court. “While you obviously want to keep your clients out of court, if at all possible—because it’s always better for people to settle things, not only because of the attorney’s fees and the emotion and time saved—sometimes that’s not possible and for me, personally, being in court is what makes me feel like I’m a lawyer.”

Now an associate at Schoonmaker, George & Colin in Greenwich, Bryniczka thrives on the diversity of his portfolio. “No two cases have ever been alike. While some of them share similar issues and you learn from past experience and issues that came up in other cases, seen in the aggregate each case is as much an individual as the two people involved in the marriage,” says Bryniczka.

When he isn’t in front of the court, he’s in front of a crowd, playing gigs as the guitarist in two different bands: the Terryl Lee Band, with its soul and funk vibe; and a jam band called The Mandated Reporters.

The latter is comprised of Bryniczka, a paralegal at his firm, a support enforcement worker, and an attorney he often faces off against in court. “You see lawyers too often really taking things personally vis-à-vis their colleagues that they’re on the opposite side of a case of and they shouldn’t,” Bryniczka says. “It’s just nice to know that there are plenty of lawyers out there who still can, you know, be zealous advocates for their clients but still be your friends once the day’s over.”

The experience on stage helps his legal career––and vice versa. “You have to be able to embrace being on the spot in front of an audience,” Bryniczka says. “You have to be able to find some enjoyment in that nervousness.”

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