Allow me to let you in on a little secret: I love to argue. Okay, maybe
it’s not such a well -kept secret. Throughout my years of practice
as a matrimonial and family court attorney, people have been frank about
telling me that they’ve hired me because... “I hear you are
a bulldog!” Though that is true, I am often compelled to explain
to those potential and new clients that there is a benefit and a detriment
to being a bulldog, and the ability to determine when to be a bulldog
and when to back off is an important quality any good matrimonial attorney
Good divorce attorneys understand that bulldog tactics should really be
tempered with the making of sound, rational arguments based upon accurate
law and well-considered strategy.
When an attorney fails to adhere to this rule and instead chooses to argue
just for the sake of arguing, or in order to put on a “show”
for his or her client, often that client receives a big bill for those
shenanigans and is comforted only by small results, if any.
Here are a few clues to watch for and avoid when hiring an attorney:
1. Avoid the attorney who becomes too emotionally involved in your personal
life. Attorneys are people too, so it is tempting for an attorney to so
align him or herself with a client’s position to the point where
they conduct themselves as though he or she is fighting his or her own
court battle. While you want a zealous advocate on your side, advocates
who are unable to remain emotionally neutral while representing you will
fail to see details which are muddied by emotional blindness.
2. Beware of attorneys who always tell you what you want to hear. As I’ve
said in prior blog postings, honesty is the best policy when looking for
an attorney. If your attorney refuses to tell you when you are wrong and
is simply focused upon the fight, you need to re-think your engagement
of that attorney.
3. Question the attorney who refuses efforts to resolve your case. While
not all cases are ripe for settlement, most are able to be resolved. If
your attorney refuses to negotiate matters you desire to resolve with
your adversary, this may be a clue that he or she is arguing for no reason
at all and that he or she is acting to your detriment.