As a family law attorney we all run into different types of divorce lawyers. Some of them good, some of them bad, some of them, a combination of both. Here my rundown of a few different kinds:
- THE CHURNER: The first thing you need to do with this lawyer is watch your wallet. They will burn through your $3500 retainer in a week flat. No battle is too small to fight and no amount of paperwork created by this lawyer will ever be matched by another one. Their efforts may be solid, but the point at which you find yourself in your case is unlikely to match up with the $20,000 in attorney fees you spent. The next lawyer who gets the case, when you have had enough will say “WTF”? They will bombard the other side with reams of paper, deforesting vast swaths of the amazon to make certain your disabled ex doesn’t get spousal support when there remains another ten issues unresolved. Being on the other side of this attorney is a nightmare, as you end up being unable to resolve the case and your client runs out of money while you are arguing about the page length of a declaration. God forbid you end up in front of a less capable judge who grants this lawyer fees.
- THE ASSASSIN: There are attorneys who believe it is their job to do the best they can within an imperfect system. Then there are those exploit the flaws in the imperfect system to win no matter what the cost to anyone, including their client. You are hoping for a fair fight where the truth matters. They will hit you in the head with a brick as you walk out in front of them. From fake proofs of service to misquoting the law to outright factual lies, nothing is beneath them. What is extraordinary is how often the court simply sees itself as above the fray. You can’t trust anything they say or any agreement they make unless it is in writing and unambiguous. If this is your lawyer, you get what you deserve.
- THE BORDERLINE: This attorney cannot have a positive interaction with anyone no matter what. They wake up in the morning and get in fights with everyone and everyone, and wonder to themselves “Why is everyone always fucking with me?” Angry, bitter, confrontational and plain mean, they will attack you and your client at every opportunity. The best thing you can do when you see a case with this attorney on it is refer the potential client to another borderline and let them go at it.
- THE JUDGE: This particular attorney sets themselves up as the judge: constantly declaring what the law whether there is a statute, a case, or a single thread to tie their argument to. The usually end up making a statement as fact, demanding you accept it, and the proceeding with great confidence with both feet firmly planted in mid-air. Interesting thing about he law, since a human is making the decision at the end of the day, saying something with supreme confidence is accepted as truth more often than most people could imagine. One of the things you learn in law school ( I failed an exam because of this) is to draw conclusions no matter how absurdly weak you argument is.