Friday, September 5, 2014

Do You Want The Most Aggressive Divorce Attorney? Give Some Thought To What You Mean By "Aggressive Attorney" And to What That Means to Your Case

Finding a divorce lawyer is easy.  Lawyers are paying upwards of $30.00 to Google for a single click on their paid advertisements in Google search results.  There are literally hundreds of them in your area.  Many, if not most, of those, advertise: “Aggressive Divorce Lawyer,” “Aggressive Attorney,” and similar such “ad-words.”  But what does aggressive mean?  
It may be tempting to look for a lawyer who markets her/himself as “aggressive.”  But while you want a lawyer who cannot be intimidated, a lawyer as comfortable in court as in his office, do you really want that cardboard cut-out caricature of the aggressive lawyer you may have seen on T.V.  Here are some reasons to give that some though.
Aggressive does not mean smart, prepared or effective
The “aggressive attorney” often makes few friends in the courthouse. I’ve seen and heard judges gossip about the silly antics of one of Orange County’s most “aggressive divorce lawyers.”  And, judges don’t take kindly to certain aggressive tactics, such as refusing to agree to a new hearing date or arguing the same point over and over after the judge has ruled.  The effective attorney compromises on procedural issues because he or she knows that the case isn’t won or lost in deposition, procedural hearings and/or with tricks.  Cases on won based on the facts, the arguments and the attorney’s behind the scenes preparation for trial.  Those silly arguments, ranting phone calls, scathing letters and clownish antics all cost you between $300 and $500 an hour and gain you nothing but more billable hours for nothing but a silly side show.
Aggressive attorneys either can’t obtain or, for their own reasons, don’t want settlement
You may be certain in your own mind that settlement is impossible. Yet, statistics show otherwise; upwards of 90 percent of cases settle before trial. Settling a case is far cheaper than going to trial. Most attorneys charge a higher rate for trial hours, not to mention the extra costs for preparation, additional hearings, and potential post-trial motions. Since an aggressive attorney will be less likely to compromise, you will have a harder time settling and that will cost you serious dollars. You may be counting on an order that your spouse will ultimately pay your attorneys’ fees, but typically, each party pays his own lawyer.
Aggressive attorneys are often not realistic
Good attorneys do not become emotionally invested in their clients’ cases.  Don’t get me wrong, all attorneys are competitive and they all want to win.  But give me any case and I can argue either side.  Good attorneys know what the opposition will say before they say it and are prepared to address what they have already prepared for.  You need your divorce attorney to explain the factors the court will consider in determining such things as child support, spousal support, visitation, and property division. I n a typical case, one party will not get all the property, all the time with the children, or unending spousal support. An aggressive attorney may not give you a reasonable assessment of the likely outcome, leaving you unprepared for the final settlement or decree.  Think of it this way: An “aggressive divorce attorney” can be like the real estate broker who tells you that your house is worth $5 million so you will sign the listing, then, once you are under contract, spends the next six months explaining to you why you need to accept $2 million.
The “aggressive attorney” make it more difficult to work with your ex-spouse down the road
Divorces are not like other kinds of litigation.  In most litigation, the parties are not emotionally involved, they likely never have to see one another, or work with one another, again.  In divorce cases, especially with children, you still have to work with your ex regarding shared custody, debts, property, shared expenses for the children and countless other issues for many years after the final paperwork is signed. The aggressive divorce attorney will encourage you to push for more than you will realistically obtain rather than compromise and it make it more difficult to work together in the future.
What kind of aggressive attorney should you be looking for?
In order to win your case without bankrupting you, the kind of aggression you are looking for is not the T.V. kind.  Effective lawyers are aggressive in the sense that they know what can be achieved, what the likely outcome will be based on all the facts and will not hesitate to go before a judge to obtain for you what you are entitled to.  But, the effective aggressive lawyer doesn’t rant at opposing counsel like some lunatic, argue to the judge points that have already been decided or write hundreds of scathing letters to opposing counsel that have no purpose other than to impress you with how aggressive they are and generate fees for the attorney.
When the effective aggressive attorney hears a demand from the opposition that is not believed to be in your best interest, he or she simply says, “I’m sorry, but that isn’t acceptable, let’s ask the judge to rule on it.”  The effective aggressive lawyer writes one letter for every 10 letters written by the lunatic aggressive lawyer but those fewer letters each of a purpose and are as short as possible.
The reality is that every decent lawyer already knows what the likely outcome of your case is not just on your side, but on the other side as well.  The effective attorney is aggressive in that he or she pushes forward on your case, prepares thoroughly for court and does all of that with as little show as necessary.
Just remember, when the opposing attorney makes a demand on your lawyer, it is as effective for your lawyer to simply say“no, thank you, I believe we are entitled to the following . . . . and if you don’t agree, let’s set the earliest possible court date to let the judge decide.”  Not only is this just as effective, it costs you far less than a 10 minute tantrum and five scathing letters.  

As a side note, one of the most interesting things I’ve noticed over the years is that the most “aggressive lawyers” are often the least comfortable and/or least effective in court, which may be the very reason they spend all of YOUR money attempting to intimidate rather than prepare for and appear in court.  In other words, the effective aggressive lawyer is as comfortable in the courtroom as in his or her own office, but would rather accept a fair settlement than simply run your fee bill up.  Put another way, the effective aggressive lawyer is interested in the best possible outcome for you at the most reasonable cost.  The typical “aggressive attorney,” the one willing to paying $30 to Google every time someone clicks on his or her paid ad, is often more interested in finding ways for YOU to pay for those ads along with their second home, their new Mercedes and, ironically, their own child and spousal support, through their various their antics.

By: Robert R. Beauchamp
Law Office of Robert R Beauchamp
23120 Alicia Pkwy
Second Floor
Mission Viejo, CA 92692
Tel:  949-370-8000
Fax: 855-370-8100
Legal Guide on Aggressive Divorce Attorneys



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