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 possesses.
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.