I am regularly asked how many cases have I won? Potential clients, non-lawyers, friends and relatives use this terminology. But, winning a case isn’t really about winning. It’s about mitigating damages and liability. It’s about preserving finances and relationships, if possible. A win is really knowing the best and worst case scenario and achieving what you aimed for or better.
When is a win not a win? When you leave a wake of havoc, of hate and a trail of tears.
Unfortunately, some lawyers take this tactic in Family Law. They believe scorched earth is the best and only approach. What they do not tell their clients, though, is that it is really only what is best for themselves, the lawyer. It is best for the lawyer financially, or perhaps they even have a personal animus against the other party or the the other lawyer.
Lawyers, in my experience, do not like to give the tough advice. That the fight is not worth it emotionally or financially. That if you win the other side ends up hating you and will spend the rest of their days waiting for you to mess up so they can pounce upon you.
The win at all costs approach results in frivolous filings, extreme delay, and angry judges. The overwhelming “win” results in an appeal, bar complaints and ultimately you may well lose in the end.
A Win is really not being unpleasantly surprised in the end result. A win equates with maintaining your relationships with your children and immediate family and having the means to provide a satisfactory life.
Matthew Thompson is a Divorce attorney and advises his clients when a win is a win and when it is not.
Follow the blog: #BowTieLawyerVisit the website: #Thompson Law Firm. You may also contact Matthew with your family law case, question or concern at (601) 850-8000 or Matthew@bowtielawyer.ms
If you or I answered questions in Court like any politician we might be held in contempt.
In Court, witnesses must answer the question asked. Usually the answer will be “yes” or “no,” and then an explanation may be offered if necessary. This can be very difficult to do and it takes practice to get this right.
Not answering the question with a “yes” or “no,” and not answering what was asked may result in the Court concluding you are being deceptive. This is not an impression you want to create.
As a witness, however, you only want to answer the question asked. Do not answer what is not asked and do not offer more than what is asked. The best example I can think of is when a party was asked if they had committed an affair with “Mary” since the separation.
The answer, “I have not committed an affair with ‘Mary’…since the separation.” There was an awkward pause. The awkward pause resulted in the follow-up question of when did you commit your affair with Mary. The party told on himself by not just saying “No” which would have been a completely truthful answer to the question asked.
Matthew Thompson is a Family Law attorney and warns witnesses to answer “yes” or “no,” explain if necessary, and sometimes less is more.