Clients may hire an aggressive lawyer to handle their divorce. Here’s what to know about whether to hire an aggressive divorce attorney.
Hiring an aggressive attorney can seem like the clear option for any client, as there is a preconceived notion that an aggressive attorney will go to greater lengths to fight for their client. However, this is not always the case. In fact, aggressive attorneys can often be problematic, which is why it is crucial to know all the information they can on seemingly aggressive attorneys before choosing one to represent them.
Assess What You Are Looking For In a Divorce Attorney
The most important thing for a client to do before hiring any divorce attorney is to determine what their necessary qualifications are in a lawyer.
If the client has specific priorities in their divorce case, discuss them with a potential attorney and see if they are willing to put them first. A client who has priorities in mind, such as a specific settlement amount or keeping a certain piece of property, should discuss them with a few potential lawyers. If the attorney is on board with prioritizing the client’s needs, this is a sign that they may be a good fit. Additionally, it is encouraged that when the client explains their priorities to the potential attorney, they ask what strategies the attorney will use to guarantee them these necessities during settlement.
A client seeking a reputable attorney should research some reviews of the attorney as well as any awards or accolades. The feedback of past clients can be useful when determining a lawyer’s merit or credibility. Generally, each attorney will have some online review(s) posted, and it is advised for the client to read through them and see if there is a pattern of positive or negative feedback. The client can also review the firm that the attorney works at and determine if it is credible. Finally, if there are any awards given to the lawyer, be wary of trusting the merit of them. Many accolades can be purchased for as little as a few hundred dollars, so it is recommended to do some research on whether they are truly prestigious. If the client prefers to be referred, consider the strength of the referral. If the client was referred to a specific divorce attorney, it is encouraged for them to ponder the credibility of the referral. Asking questions such as “did the referring party use this attorney for their own divorce, or do they just know of them? Additionally, is the referral from a friend of the attorney, or is the referring party being paid to refer them?”. Questions like these may be helpful in determining just how much merit the client should give the referral.
Choosing Between an Aggressive and a Strategic Divorce Attorney
Although an aggressive attorney can seem like a favorable option in divorce, it is crucial for a client to understand the difference between an aggressive attorney and a strategic one. Divorce is generally difficult for both parties, as the end of a marriage is rarely a cooperative and diplomatic process. A client can tend to steer to a bold attorney who may use loaded rhetoric about how they will “fight to the death” for you. However, a great lawyer does not need this kind of aggressive logic to convince you to hire them, but rather will lay out a detailed plan of action they have to support you. Here are the differences between an aggressive and a strategic lawyer.
An aggressive divorce attorney will often:
- Make unreasonable settlement offers to the opposing party,
- Refuse to negotiate some or any of the items,
- Create an unreasonable expectation for their own client,
- Refuse to respond to offers and compromises from the opposing party,
- Desire to go to trial,
- Refuse to produce documents for the opposing party.
A strategic attorney will:
- Strongly and assertively advocate for their client,
- Present a strategic analysis of the case and associated issues,
- Pursue settlement options early,
- Collaborate with other attorneys, including the other attorney,
- Only try the cases that should be tried in court,
- Settle the cases that warrant settling,
- Focus on resolving the case and their client’s needs,
- Utilize business decision approach,
- Be proactive rather than reactive,
- Propose settlement conferences with the opposing party.
Oftentimes, a client can be manipulated into hiring an aggressive attorney by their over-assertive behavior and promise of unreachable goals. Aggressive attorneys are excellent at selling themselves to clients in emotionally charged cases, and can make themselves look like the best option to handle an upsetting case. However, many times what a client truly needs is a strategic divorce attorney, who will be assertive in prioritizing their needs but will also collaborate and look for the best option for their client. A client can refer to the list noted above for qualities they want to search for in their divorce attorney, and determine what kind of attorney is best suited for them. Additionally, a client can find more information on what they should look for in an attorney here. At the end of the day, the client’s comfort level and needs should be prioritized throughout the entirety of the divorce process. One should not feel the need to compromise their stance on their divorce case for a seemingly aggressive attorney.