Recently a colleague related a story: A friend of his asked him to refer him to “the meanest, most aggressive attorney” he knew. He really wanted his lawyer to “rip to shreds” the other party to the dispute.
The result? The friend and his lawyer argued all the time and he fired the “aggressive jerk”.
This is a case of be careful what you wish for. Now the client is out a good amount of money after giving him a non-refundable retainer and must start over again.
Most lawyer know this “mad dog lawyer wins all matches”, mentality is a myth. I understand the concept of when one is spitting mad at another party, you don’t want them to get off easily – you want your lawyer to make their life miserable. I get that. However, vengeance is better left to a higher plane. Better to hope for a karmic event than a pound of flesh in court.
Good lawyers will tell you that in litigation, you want more light than heat. “Light” or getting to the legal issues in a calm and rational way will go a long way in resolving the issue without rancor. “Heat” or baloney bluster as I call it takes time and valuable resources, both emotional and in legal fees. Recently a lawyer in South Florida was suspended for two years for repeatedly screaming at his opponent in Court, as well as the Judge who found such disrespect to work contrary to the client’s cause.
Want to know what works better? Rationality, knowledge of the issues, common decency, respect and humor. Working mainly in the area of personal injury law, there have been countless times when an insurance adjuster went out of his or her way to increase a settlement offer because I knew the file better than they, I educated without attempting intimidation and I actually, **gasp**, asked them how their weekend was.
This may be counterintuitive to some. If my attorney believes in my case shouldn’t he fight for me? Of course but there is a huge difference between zealously representing your client in a direct manner and bullying someone. Bullying doesn’t work with insurance adjuster or insurance defense attorneys. It’s a huge waste of time.
Now I’ve got my limits as well. When I find that an adjuster has lied to me, or has a preconceived notion about my client (“He’s a professional claimant because he made a workers comp claim 22 year ago”), I am the first one to blow the B.S. whistle.
And when I do, an adjuster knows that he’s just pushed a pretty reasonable attorney working for his personal injury client too far and I file suit. It happens. But my obligation to my client is to exhaust settlement potential in a truthful and ethical manner before subjecting them to unnecessary litigation and expense.
Author Bio: Walt Blenner is a Palm Harbor personal injury lawyer who is an “AV” (highest) rated by Lawyers.com and Martindale Hubbell. He has successfully represented hundreds of clients in Palm Harbor, Dunedin, New Port Richey as well as Tampa and looks forward to helping you and your family whether in the area of personal injury, estate planning or corporate representation.
You can follow Walt on Twitter (https://twitter.com/waltwb), Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/BlennerLawGroup) and Google+ (https://plus.google.com/+Waltblennerlaw)
Image credit: auremar / 123RF Stock Photo