I’ve worked with a lot of divorce lawyers over the years and it’s safe to say that not all are created equal. In fact, there are probably just as many styles as there are attorneys. Generally, I’ve learned that most of the lawyers fit into one of three categories. I describe each of these categories as a different animal. I call them the lamb, the pit bull and the fox.
Lambs are docile and gentle animals. They are often depicted representing peace and harmony. Lawyers that I categorize as lambs act in a similar fashion. Lambs are not proactive, they are reactive. They prefer to avoid confrontation, but instead seek the path of least resistance. Typically, these attorneys will avoid going to court to try a case, often advising their clients to, even if it is not in their best interest. Fortunately for their clients, lawyers who are lambs do not last in the business very long.
Pit bulls are quite the opposite of lambs. They are also much more common. Pit bulls have the reputation for vicious attacks and relentless pursuit of their prey without thought. Similarly, lawyers in this category tend to take great pleasure in fighting and drawing blood. These attorneys enjoy their “bad boy” reputation, and the fear it invokes in whomever they are facing on the other side of the courtroom. To the inexperienced, this may seem like a good tactic. Unfortunately, this tactic can be detrimental to the client.
Pit bulls will often fight to the death, regardless of who gets hurt, including themselves. It is this trait that frequently leads pit bull lawyers to advise a client to turn down a settlement just so they have an opportunity to battle in court. In many cases, their clouded vision and “out for blood” mentality can prove quite costly to the client.
Unfortunately, many people facing divorce think they need a pit bull lawyer. They want someone who is aggressive. This is the wrong thing to look for. You want an assertive lawyer, not necessarily someone who is mindlessly aggressive. There is a big difference. You want a fox.
Foxes are unique creatures. They are often identified as being “cunning” or “wise.” They are highly intelligent, thinking animals. Lawyers who behave like foxes are able to see the big picture. She is always aware of the consequences that her actions have on her client. The advice the fox gives is well thought out and balanced, and she always has her client’s best interest in mind.
The fox recognizes that it’s always preferable to reach a reasonable agreement instead of going to court and leaving it up to a judge to decide your family’s future. However, if a reasonable agreement isn’t possible, the fox is prepared to effectively litigate the case in court. If it best serves her client, the fox attorney will be assertive and stand her ground.
My advice to you is to avoid the lambs and the pit bulls when you’re trying to find a divorce lawyer. Find yourself a fox.