Posts Tagged ‘Aggressive Attorney’
Often I will have clients come into my office to discuss their case and they will ask “are you a pitbull, or are you a shark, or I need a real aggressive attorney, are you aggressive?” Early in my career, this question made me uncomfortable because I wasn’t sure if I was a pitbull attorney and obviously pitbull attorneys must be the best because that is what people kept asking me to be. After years of practice and observing and working with hundreds of attorneys and appearing before numerous judges, I have learned what it means to be a good attorney and how the good attorney will beat the pitbull attorney every time.
The classic description of the pitbull attorney is the attorney who will get in the face of the opposing attorney and will yell at the judge and anybody else that stands in his way. The pitbull attorney will not work with opposing counsel on extensions or discovery issues but takes a “my way or the highway” attitude. This type of attorney may sound good to a client who is in a hotly contested case. But, in reality this type of attorney is looking out for his interests not his client’s interests or he is so unprepared that he has to yell and make scenes instead of presenting a strong legal case.
A recent case I tried illustrates this point. The opposing attorney in the case has been practicing for several years and has the reputation of being a real pitbull. In trial, this attorney lived up to his reputation. He was extremely aggressive and disrespectful to the judge. This attorney’s client probably thought that he had the “toughest” and “baddest” attorney around. Yet, I could see that while this attorney may have been making points with his client, he was not making them with the judge. What should have been a hard fought custody battle ended up being an easy victory for me and my client. While opposing counsel was telling the court how smart he (“the attorney”) was, we were presenting a strong legal case supported by the facts and law. The judge was not impressed with opposing counsel’s antics and consequently it was easy for him to rule in our favor.
The Good Lawyer aggressively fights for his client by being well prepared and making strong legal arguments. The Good Lawyer makes an honest assessment of his client’s case and is upfront with the client on the strengths and weaknesses of the case. The Good Lawyer advises his client on the potential cost and return on the case. Conversely, the pitbull lawyer is not well prepared but tries to win the case through intimidation and bullying. The pitbull lawyer tells his client that there is no way they can lose the case. The pitbull lawyer is not honest with his client about the real costs of litigation. So, the Good Lawyer is aggressive, but he is not obnoxious.
Now, when people ask me if I am a pitbull attorney, I say no. I am a good attorney.
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