By: Alan E. Freed
“I want an aggressive lawyer.”
So many of our prospective clients want our assurance that we will be “aggressive” in defending them or pursuing their claim. It’s the rare client who says, “I’m looking for a lawyer whose integrity is unquestioned.” Perhaps it’s time to rethink those priorities.
Everyone, naturally, wants a lawyer who is highly skilled. That is true in any search for a professional and goes without saying. Legal fees can be substantial and you certainly want to spend your money on the best representation you can afford.
So why not find someone who is aggressive?
A client’s perceived need for an “aggressive” lawyer often comes from a place of fear. Every lawsuit carries with it a measure of risk—uncertain costs, uncertain outcomes, unpleasant encounters—all of these make the participants in those lawsuits nervous. If you’re afraid you will be attacked, you naturally want to have the best possible protection.
The problem is that aggression alone does not win lawsuits and can lead to careless (and often ego-driven) recklessness. Lawyers win cases through meticulous preparation and thoughtful analysis. They win just as much by anticipating the problems in their case and preparing to defend them as by exploiting the weaknesses in the other side’s case.
This is where integrity enters the conversation.
Lawyers, regardless of their practice area, travel in relatively small circles. We know each other well. We also see the same judges over and over. They know us well. A lawyer with an impeccable reputation for honesty can enter a courtroom, make an argument, and know that the judge won’t be wondering whether the lawyer is bending the truth or misrepresenting the law. The opposing lawyer knows the same thing. That knowledge can pay dividends in good outcomes. Beyond that, obtaining information from opposing lawyers and negotiating settlements is infinitely easier and substantially less expensive when there is a high level of trust between the professionals. That means a much better chance for a favorable outcome at a lower cost. Win/win.
Aggression, by contrast, takes unnecessary time and costs unnecessary attorneys’ fees. It tells the judge you are more interested in stroking your ego than in resolving the case in a fair judicial manner. Both the judge and the other side begin to discount what your attorney says as just another wild swing at your opponent.
A good lawyer recognizes the need to maintain a spotless reputation. Clients benefit from seeking out that reputation rather than simply finding the meanest dog in the junkyard.
The attorneys at Paule, Camazine & Blumenthal welcome the opportunity to discuss your case and explain how excellent legal representation is based upon honesty and integrity.