The 5 Types of Attorneys You’ll Encounter In Family Law

Are you a divorce professional who often wonders if you could be happier in another profession? Or maybe you’re a family law attorney who sometimes questions if this is what you went to law school for? The truth is that being a divorce professional is stressful and time-consuming. The Proactive Divorce™ process isn’t just for the spouses, but for the professionals who provide family law services as well. That is why we created the Proactive Divorce™ for professionals too, to save them time, energy and stress.  Let’s discuss a common stressor.

The Opposing Counsel

There’s one stressor that many non-family law professionals don’t consider and that is the opposing counsel. The opposing counsel can greatly impact both your life and your client’s life for the next several months or years. 

  1. The Dabbler – The dabbler is the attorney who is a jack of all trades and master of none. Dabblers tend to be general practitioners of various areas of law with limited knowledge in each area and are comfortable learning on the fly. Unfortunately, many people view family law as something they can dabble in, despite the fact that family law can be very complex. Depending on how you view the litigation process, this may be a good thing or a bad thing. On the one hand, your client may benefit from the opposing counsel’s lack of knowledge. On the other, your opposing counsel may make settling a case near impossible if they don’t understand you as you try to negotiate the parameters based upon the law. And while 18 months later in trial you might win the case with ease, by that point you and your client will have expended a significant amount of time, resources and stress.
  2. The Churner – Lawyers often are given the bad reputation of being churners. While many attorneys aren’t churners, the few that are ruin it for the rest. Churning is stressful, annoying, and worst of all, expensive for your client even after doing your best to manage your time efficiently and effectively. If your opposing counsel is a churner, you’ll have to explain to your client why your bill is 3x more than anticipated. The only good news is that the churner usually doesn’t survive the entire case. The churner’s client often realizes how much money the churner is wasting and ends it. But until you get to that point, it is going to cost you a lot of time, energy, resources and stress. 
  3. The Instigator – Every location has them. There is a list of about 3 to 5 attorneys that are hated by all in each community and when their name appears, you find yourself asking if the case is even worth it. There is a legal term for them, it’s asshole. They will gladly make your life and your client’s life hell, and claim they do it in the name of strategy and advanced litigation tactics. They bill for their time and make good money, but money isn’t their priority. Instead, it is to live up to their reputation. To make things worse, these attorneys often attract similar clients, and unlike a churner, the asshole spouse will enjoy the tactics of their asshole attorney. I know using the term asshole isn’t the most professional thing but Proactive Divorce™ is built on a principle of transparency, so we will call it what it is. These divorce attorneys will no doubt cost you time, energy, and stress.
  4. The Former Non-Family Law Litigator – These attorneys tend to be bright and confident. They are comfortable with the rules of evidence and enjoy being in a courtroom. While you may want to call them dabblers, their extensive experience in court differentiates them. They don’t necessarily like family law and may even look down on family law attorneys—they assume the family law attorney isn’t as educated in the rules of procedure and evidence. Since they don’t really enjoy family law and all the specific nuances, they tend to litigate from a big picture point of view. While this may help with day to day stress, they are quick to return to their happy place: the courtroom.  If you don’t agree with them, even if they are wrong, they will take it straight to court. And while these attorneys aren’t assholes, they know that any court-hearing you go to, you will have to over-prepare and it will cost you time, energy, resources and stress.
  5. The Perfect Professional – They are knowledgeable in family law and while you may not agree with their positions, you respect them. They don’t litigate to litigate, instead they try to work with you in a mature fashion. They have good caseloads and they don’t churn. Their clients are generally prepared and educated on the law. And You often settle your cases with these attorneys at mediation. If you had these attorneys on every case, then you would enjoy your career—and life in general—much more. Sadly, this isn’t always the case. 

A Divorce Process Solution For Professionals

With the Proactive Divorce™, you don’t have to worry about your opposing counsel. We carefully vet all attorneys in our network, even you! We work with attorneys who fit into the Proactive DivorceTM frame of mind to conserve you time, energy and stress. This way, you can focus on assisting your client while enjoying your life too!

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