Myth # 2 You Need an Aggressive Lawyer.
When you begin your divorce, friends and relatives often encourage you to find the most aggressive lawyer in town. This is based on several erroneous assumptions. First, there is the assumption that the aggressive lawyer will be better able to win in court. This leads to the second incorrect assumption that you will likely go to trial. And the third and final error: the aggressive lawyer is going to get you a better deal.
First, most divorces are resolved through negotiation not litigation. In negotiation, aggression is a handicap not an asset. Second, you’ve heard this before, only one percent of divorces go to trial where your aggressive lawyer can shine. That aggressive litigator may actually cost you more in time, money, and aggravation by having a “take no prisoners” attitude.
What the aggressive style produces is a settlement later rather than sooner. The aggressive lawyer will posture that the case is to be tried. He or she will engage in vigorous discovery and file many motions in court in an attempt to intimidate. But any competent lawyer on the other side will know how to counter the would-be threats. Your choice of the most aggressive lawyer in town gets you much higher legal fees and a drawn out divorce.
If a divorce is to be resolved by negotiation, there is much less need for discovery. If you have an assertive rather than aggressive lawyer you will likely reach an acceptable negotiation much sooner.
Even if the case goes to trial, the histrionic antics of the aggressive lawyer will have little impact on the judge who decides the case. The judge is more likely to follow local norms for support and property division than heed the extreme demands of the noisy lawyer. If anything, the judge may just be annoyed by the flamboyant performance.
In the end your lawyer will have to negotiate, and aggressive styles do not do particularly well in negotiation. Other lawyers are alienated by aggressive tactics and may just dig in their heels until your lawyer moderates his position. The results of choosing an aggressive lawyer are a greater expense both financially and emotionally, a long delay, unnecessary bitterness between you and your soon-to-be-ex, and nothing gained at all. Avoid the aggressive lawyer.