The American Bar Association’s Section of Family Law adopted standards of civility for Family (Divorce and Custody) Attorneys. The ABA recognized that civility is important in family law practice. As a litigant and client, why should lawyer civility be important to you?
In my divorce and custody practice, there is a time for negotiation, and there is a time for aggressive representation of my client’s interests. Aggressive representation, however, does not suggest inflammatory or reckless litigation. In my 25 years of litigation experience, as a prosecutor and trial lawyer, the most successful approach to litigation is aggressive, focused civility. Lawyers that treat their clients with respect and care, who treat opposing lawyers with a measure of civility, and who show respect for the Court, get the best results.
Why, as a trial lawyer, act with civility? It saves you, the client, time and money, lowers the stress of the case, and gets the best results. If you hire an angry, reckless, “bulldog” lawyer for your case, you’ll spend more, have more anguish and stress, and your results will likely be far lower. Judges typically don’t respect the generalist “bulldog” lawyers.