“Why You Don’t Want An Angry Lawyer”

Lawyers have many different styles of practice and presentation in a courtroom. There are many different styles of negotiating as well. When you pick an attorney, you should choose one whose style suits your own and who you feel comfortable with. After all, you will be working with the attorney over a period of time to try to accomplish your goals, whatever they may be.

One particular style that is used a lot in family law is the “angry attorney.” This attorney blusters a lot, threatens, and makes a show in the courtroom. Many people are attracted to this style and think, “Wow, this attorney will really fight for me!”

However, there are some problems with this style.

First, it generally means the attorney is involved in a LOT of major fights with other attorneys. This means less time to focus on your case. When you’re at war with everyone, all the time, that’s a lot of different fronts to be fighting on.

Second, it means that things that should be negotiated and settled often aren’t. This is because they attorney is in the habit of fighting over everything, even when a settlement would be more advantageous. In addition, the opposing attorney may be less likely to give ground and compromise with someone who is abusive and overly aggressive.

Third, that attorney has mostly likely been in the courtroom you are in and in front of that judge MANY times. The judge knows the game. The judge has seen it before. Judges are not amused at grandstanding and unreasonable people who take up lots of court time without good reason. If your judge believes that your attorney brings up the level of conflict unnecessarily, that will usually reflect on you, even unconsciously.
Many times the only person really impressed with an angry attorney is YOU. And that’s the point of it, anyway, to make the client feel like the attorney is fighting hard and is aggressive.

So what should you really look for in an attorney?

Well, first, you need to make sure the attorney knows how to put on a trial if it is necessary to do so. A good attorney who prepares properly for hearings is not afraid to put on the evidence and do the trial. You can only do that if you have experience in trials and a good system for preparing evidence to present to the judge. An attorney who does not meet with you prior to a contested hearing to discuss your testimony cannot possibly be as well prepared as an attorney who does. The attorney should be able to tell you their trial plan and the evidence they plan to present. You should be on the same page about those issues BEFORE the trial.

Second, the attorney should take the time to understand your case and what is really important to you. If you don’t have the same goals, how can you get a good result?

Third, and here is the discretionary part, the attorney should fit your personality. You have to be comfortable, the attorney has to be comfortable, and you have to be seeing things from the same perspective. I have referred clients to other attorneys at times because I just felt that we weren’t connecting on the issues and seeing the facts and strategy the same way. It happens. It doesn’t make them a bad attorney or you a bad client; sometimes it’s just not a good fit.

DISCLAIMER: All legal principles quoted are valid as of the date of writing in the State of California. However, you should NEVER base your actions on a legal article, blog, or internet story, as facts in real life are complicated. You should have your case evaluated by an attorney experienced in the area of law needed for your case. In addition, there are often exceptions and potential changes to results that occur due to facts that you may think are trivial or unimportant. This article should not be taken in any way as legal advice on your specific legal matter.

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