I want a lawyer that’s a junkyard dog! I want someone that’s going to be aggressive! I want someone to fight! fight! fight! I don’t know how many times I have heard these words. This is very typical in family law cases. For many people seeking divorce, this is the first time they have needed an attorney and their emotions are out of control. Maybe that’s why they are looking for the most emotionally unstable lawyer they can find.
Since seeing the Bugatti Veyron on the BBC show Top Gear years ago, I have thought it would be the perfect car for me. While it’s true that I have a family (so it may not be all that practical in that respect) and I couldn’t afford the insurance on it or even the tires for that matter, I still need it. Or do I? Since I’m not a race car driver and I’m totally unfamiliar with a car of such performance, the chances of me wrapping it around a pole and killing myself are probably pretty good. The same could be said of a junkyard lawyer in your divorce case. Will it cost a lot of money? Oh yeah! About 90% of divorce cases settle before going to trial but that’s not true for the junkyard dog attorney. Because he/she is obstinate, there is not much need in negotiation. The junkyard dog attorney will want to bury the other side in paperwork and have frivolous motions and hearings. Naturally, even if the other lawyer is not of the junkyard dog variety, he/she must retaliate and you have a very expensive all out legal battle on your hands. And while the junkyard dog might not kill you like the Veyron, you might wish you were dead before it’s over.
Judges don’t care much for the junkyard dog. I once saw one of these attorneys objecting every few seconds of a witness’s testimony. It was turning into a shouting match with the junkyard dog saying “objection” and the judge saying “overruled”. If you are thinking this is not productive, you are correct. If you have the junkyard dog attorney, I’m not saying you are going to lose your case. In fact some of these attorneys are great litigators (lots of practice). The areas where the junkyard dog can really hurt you are the discretionary decisions that could go either way. Should the judge go with litigant A or with litigant B that hired Mr./Ms. Bag of Flees? I’m thinking the judge goes with A.
It’s just my opinion, but I think you need a lawyer that works well with others and has mastered the art of negotiation. Your attorney will still need to make preparations for trial, but hopefully, it will not be necessary, unless of course, a trial is your real goal and not a settlement you can both live with. Leave the junkyard dog where he/she belongs, in the junkyard. Hopefully you will get everything you need in your case and not just what you want.
If you still want to hire a junkyard dog, let me know. I know a lot of them. And if you happen to own a Bugatti Veyron, just let me drive it around the block a few times. I almost guarantee nothing will happen to it.