In my many years of practicing law, I’ve had to deal with a number of difficult lawyers.
Most lawyers, while doing their best to represent their clients’ interests, are generally professional and considerate of each other. Though our clients have opposing interests, it’s in the attorneys’ interests to maintain a professional relationship because we both have work that needs to get done. We may meet again on opposing sides in another case, so creating animosity may not only impact the current case but future ones as well.
There are a minority of attorneys who are genuinely difficult to work with. Over the years I’ve learned to effectively and professionally deal with them while shielding my clients from them as much as possible. Emotion and frustration is what the difficult attorneys want to see and I won’t give it to them.
Here are some types of difficult attorneys:
- The Bully: He (or she) is rude, makes threats and tries to control the case. This lawyer will shout at my staff and me over the phone if he doesn’t get his way. In court this lawyer will try to divert the court’s attention by accusing me and my client of every misdeed. This lawyer will muddy the judicial waters at the expense of everyone, including himself and his own reputation,
- Dr. No: This lawyer is negative and uncooperative about everything. No matter what I suggest to resolve the case or just make the trial case easier for everyone, the answer is no. Phone calls and correspondence go unanswered. This lawyer will do everything, or not do anything, to make the case drag on, and
- The Wind Bag: This lawyer will be a blow-hard, over-the-top, zealous advocate with no apparent goal in sight, such as a resolution of the case. There will be lengthy letters about how poor the case is, how my client can’t win, etc. This lawyer will tear apart my client and the case to no end. Everything becomes a subject of a motion before the court.
I handle these attorneys by:
- Being Cool: I won’t lower myself to the difficult attorney’s level. I won’t add fuel to the difficult attorney’s emotional fire. That attorney can waste his time and his client’s money. I remain professional and won’t waste my time and energy on frivolous issues,
- Documenting My Actions: If the opposing counsel’s behavior becomes an issue, there’s a good chance the court may have to intervene. I document my attempts at communication and cooperation, and
- Picking My Battles: I won’t get the court involved in minor irritations and play into the hands of the difficult attorney. I will, however, get a judge involved when the difficult attorney’s antics become a substantial impediment to protecting my client’s interests.
One of the major benefits of hiring me as an attorney, and not trying to handle a legal issue by yourself, is that you, for the most part, won’t have to deal with these difficult lawyers. I will. You can spend your time and energy running your business and living your life. If you’re facing possible litigation, contact my office for a free consultation. You have no idea how much aggravation, time and energy you will save by hiring me to represent your interests.