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May 2016

Do you really want an Aggressive RI Divorce Lawyer? Do you know what what one is?

Picture of Attorney Christopher Pearsall
Atty Chris Pearsall

Authored By:  Christopher Pearsall, RI Divorce Attorney
a.k.a.  " The Rhode Island Divorce Coach ℠ "

So many lawyers are advertising that they are "aggressive."  But do you know what an "aggressive lawyer" is and whether that's the kind of lawyer you are looking for.

A good place to start is the definition of "aggressive."  Generally it means "ready or likely to attack or confront."  Is that what you want though?  The fact is that the word aggressive can mean any number of things.  Let me give you a few examples.


I had one case against one attorney early on in my practice who not only advertised as being aggressive but also was known to be aggressive.  As we came up to the eve of trial the attorney tried to force a settlement.  In full view and easily within earshot not only of his client but of lots of people in the courthouse corridor he intentionally instigated a loud argument with me although he was the only one being loud and there was no disagreement.  He made it a point to yell at me and call me unprofessional and that he was going to teach me a thing or two in the trial.  His client smiled as though he had got his money's worth as I tried to piece together what I was missing since this was clearly a one-sided attack on me in a public display that made no sense.

I figured it out later.  It was all an act to "look aggressive" so his client would believe he was getting his monies' worth.  In truth it was an act and nothing more.  When all was said and done input from the judge put the matter to bed rather quickly in favor of my client.  What did aggressive get the other lawyer's client . . . nothing!  It was merely an illusion.

In another case I was up against an aggressive lawyer who was calm but used tactics were less than honorable.  The lawyer made filings without giving me notice as required by the Rhode Island Family Court Rules to try to prevent me from protecting my client's interests.  The attorney would also create reasons why he or his client could not be in court without giving me notice as the opposing counsel so I could minimize attorney's fees for my client or lost wages as my client took a day out of work.  The lawyer misrepresented matters before the judge to mislead the court in favor of the lawyer's client.  To say the least the lawyers tactics and "aggressive stature" were less than professional or ethical.  In short, they were underhanded and the types of things that lead to lawyers receiving a bad reputation.

What many clients don't realize is that aggressive need not be offensive, loud and boisterous, insulting, unprofessional, unethical, nor in violation of the Rules of the Family Court which incidentally may be grounds for appeal.  A good aggressive lawyer knows how to strategically use aggressive strategies without making it an "acting show" and without "risking your case by violating the rights of others and causing appealable issues." 

Perhaps one of the most significant things prospective clients need to consider is the fact that your lawyer is a reflection of you.  If your lawyer ticks off, offends or causes a judge in the case to be incensed by the lawyer's behavior, it reflects badly on you as the client. 

Why?  Because the lawyer is there only to represent your interests.  The lawyer will be there on many other cases during his or her career but during the time he or she is there for your case it's as if the lawyer is standing in for you.  If the lawyer represents something, it's as if you said it.  So the lawyer is an extension of you.  If the lawyer does or says something that can damage how you appear or your case before the court then YOU are the one who pays the price, not the lawyer.  It's your life!  No matter how much you are paying your lawyer, your selection of lawyer is critical.

Watch out for aggressive lawyers!  In my personal opinion your lawyer can be aggressive without doing what either of the two lawyers in this article did.  Remember, if the lawyer damages his or her credibility before the court, he or she could very well have damaged your case.

Don't be victimized simply because you selected the wrong lawyer because the advertising sounds good.  Be Smart!  Be informed!

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Yesterday, I was a Rhode Island lawyer whose book was judged by the cover and a prospective Divorce Client took the loss!

Picture of Attorney Christopher Pearsall
Atty Chris Pearsall

Authored By:  Christopher Pearsall, RI Divorce Attorney
a.k.a.  " The Rhode Island Divorce Coach ℠ "

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Yesterday I had an appointment scheduled with a man who had already rescheduled his appointment once.  Just before his appointment for his divorce advice session I saw him pull into the driveway. 


The prospective client hesitated in his car in the parking area.  He had been advised in the confirmation email that he would be coming to a residential area and that my office is located in the lower level of the split level house to save my client's money by eliminating expenses and lowering my fees and making a more comfortable, homelike environment so people could feel comfortable with their divorce lawyer.

The propective client looked around from the driveway at the raised ranch that houses my law practice.  Then he drove away.  No call that he wanted to cancel his appointment.  No courtesy call to let know he wanted to reschedule.  No call to explain why he chose to cancel.

For sixteen (16) years, I have dedicated my every effort to try to help the people of this state in our Rhode Island Family Courts, including mothers, fathers, children and even the court itself.

So yesterday, this prospective client judged a book by it's cover.  He looked at the house and he didn't see a fancy law office on the outside.  He didn't see a big sign with impressive lettering.  He didn't see a BMW or a Jaguar in the driveway.  So without seeing everything he expected to see in a traditional law firm he drove away without so much as a courtesy call to me as the lawyer inside.  So I continued on with my work day.

Yet it was this prospective client's loss that he doesn't realize.  What he didn't see was the lawyer in a business suit suit prepared to meet him inside behind an antique oak desk.  What he didn't see was 16 years of experience waiting to inform him of his legal rights and answer his questions.

What the man didn't realize is that lawyers with a fancy law office must charge you more to pay for that law office.  What the man didn't realize is that a fancy sign really means nothing. It simply costs more and tries to make you look more impressive.  What he didn't realize was that a lawyer's BMW or Jaguar doesn't go into court for you.  When all is said and done what is crucial is that you remember that the value you get is in the lawyer you hire.  Your lawyer goes to court for you.  Your lawyer argues your case.  Your lawyer makes the difference.  When you are impressed by desks, offices, secretaries, support staff, huge copiers, paralegals, etc... and you believe that gets you a better law firm, you're fooling yourself.  When all is said and done it is your lawyer that makes the difference.

So the man yesterday drove away to his loss.  What if he learned that he was getting a $250 per hour lawyer for $150 per hour.  How would he feel after the fact realizing he could have obtained a lawyer with the same experience as the fancy looking law firm for $100 per hour LESS. 

Focus is crucial when selecting a lawyer and appearances can be deceiving.  It you have all the money in the world, then by all mean just pick the most expensive lawyer you can and hope you get a good one.  If not, remember... don't judge a book by it's cover... you could be making a tremendously impractical mistake.