Many clients want a 'bulldog' and highly aggressive lawyer. What many clients are clueless about is the 'bulldog' lawyer just exploits their desire for aggression to run up a huge legal bill and pursue ineffective and counter productive strategies.
Real life is not like Hollywood. Anyone involved in the court system knows the other side doesn't just simply give up because the other lawyer shouts, screams, threatens, or issues personal attacks. All this does is cause the other side to dig their heels in and the case drags on. When a lawyer threatens and is mean in court, judges not impressed by these tactics get upset and may rule against the 'aggressive' lawyer. A bulldog lawyer is a waste of your time and money. Cases are won by hard work, heeding your lawyers advice, meticulous collection of evidence, lots of research, and preparation for trial. They are not won by browbeating and bullying.
Below is a scenario I've seen multiple times.
Scenario 1. Missy is upset with her husband. He cheated on her and is unwilling to be generous as they talk of going their separate ways. Mary wants a 'pitbull' lawyer and makes an appointment with one. The lawyer, sensing Missy is upset and angry exploits her by saying John has treated her awfully and he will help her take him to the cleaners. He promises he is tough and will fight for her. Missy feels good about hiring him since he's a fighter and is on her side.
Scenario 2. The lawyer immediately files for divorce asking for an enormous sum of alimony, all of the marital property, and that John should have almost no visits with their daughter Polly. The lawyer sends numerous rounds of discovery, and schedules motion hearings seeking every last record possible. Pretrial motions are held along with depositions with the lawyer questioning John, his mistress, numerous other witnesses and the lawyer runs up a very large bill. They proceed to trial and Missy's lawyer yells, points fingers, and demands she gets everything for which she asked.
Scenario 3. It's been 15 months and Missy didn't get what she asked for. She got half of the marital property, a much lower amount of alimony that she asked, and John got lots of visitation with Polly. The Judge, angry at Missy's lawyer's scorched earth approach orders she pay John's attorney costs. John's attorney fees were $10,000.00 and Mary owes her 'pitbull' lawyer $50,000.00. Missy's lawyer blames the judge saying he or she doesn't understand the law and tells Molly she should appeal the ruling. But Mary is out of money. She spent much more than she ever wanted but is thankful her lawyer was a bulldog and blames the judge for the outcome.
What Missy never knew was she was being ripped off from the beginning. The lawyer knew from the beginning the judge wouldn't give her what she wanted but knew he could run up a large legal bill. The lawyer also knew he could get away with it from the beginning as long as he was a bulldog who blamed the judge at the end. He knew Missy would appreciate him. He also knew that being demanding, unreasonable, and a bully would double his legal fees.
Why do some lawyers promise to be aggressive, bullying, and tough? It's because at the end, although they know these tactics will be detrimental to their client's case and the client will lose, they will double their legal fees and the client will end up liking the lawyer because he or she was a 'fighter.'
If you want to actually win your case avoid the yelling, pointing, browbeating lawyers and find one that is actually effective.
I am James M. "Jim" Judkins and for over 11 years family law has been a big part of my practice. I enjoy helping people. Located in the heart of Murfreesboro and in Smithville, Tennessee, I represent clients in family law situations all throughout Tennessee. Helping people successfully through the some of the most turbulent times of their lives gives me a great sense of accomplishment.
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