I often have people come into my office and ask if I am an “aggressive attorney.” I tell them it depends on what their definition of aggressive is. If their definition of “aggressive” is: to take an unreasonable position and defend it at all costs, to needlessly generate emergencies or conduct discovery without regard for efficiency or need, to pound my fist and scream at the other side or the judge- then no, I am not an aggressive attorney.
However if their definition of “aggressive” is: to advise them of their rights and defend those rights vigorously, to make sure they understand the process and procedure and likely outcomes available, to set out the different paths of proceeding in their divorce and then leading them assuredly forward, to understand the tension and fear they are feeling and do my best to assuage some of that anxiety, to settle their case if settlement is in their best interest or to take their case to trial if that is what needs to be done, to make sure that their interests are heard and protected as well as can be in the family court system- then yes, I am an aggressive attorney. That is not to say I have not pounded my fist or raised my voice, it just means that I only do so when necessary.
I think people have a wrong idea of attorneys that louder means better; that more fist-pounding means getting more in the end.
I think aggressive means having someone on your side, telling you what you need to hear, even if it’s not what you want to hear. I think being aggressive means not being afraid to fight when a fight is called for, and not being afraid to compromise when that is the better path. I think the most important thing to ask from your attorney is not whether he or she is aggressive, but whether or not you feel that person is someone you can rely on and can trust to guide you through the process- aggressive or not, loud or not, fist-pounding or not- it’s not the description that’s important, it’s the quality of your representation.