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The Pit Bull Lawyer

The Pit Bull Lawyer

The Pit Bull Lawyer We’ve all heard the “pit bull lawyer” expression. Popular culture seems to associate the term with a lawyer who is aggressive, tough and powerful, able to bend the law and find loopholes to do whatever it takes to win their cases. Like any other professional group, attorneys have their own individual styles, personalities and work ethics. Attorneys have an old adage about judges: you can line up ten judges, have a trial, and get ten different rulings. The same probably holds true for attorneys.  What kind of attorney do you want?  Upon closer examination of the “pit bull lawyer” there are several things you should take into account. Just because an attorney is loud, rude and pushy doesn’t mean he or she is the best. In fact, there are attorneys who may actually use that facade to hide the fact that they aren’t prepared and they plan on winging it that day.  Or, they may use it to bury the fact that they are spending many hours of unnecessary (but billable) office time and/or courtroom time waging a war for show to impress their client, while skipping negotiation. Best case scenarios often include a separation agreement or what is called a consent order if there is a pending court case. Another “pit bull” hazard might be writing lengthy (and expensive) letters that essentially do nothing but make personal attacks and generally fan the flames between the family members.  Creating unnecessary hostility in a family is not in anyone’s best interest. There are fine lines between an attorney’s ethical behavior and other types of behavior. For example, do you really think it is wise to use scorched Earth tactics that starve out your children to get back at your ex? Is that what you are really trying to achieve? A good lawyer will caution you to step back from anger and look at the long terms consequences. A divorcing client can be angry now, but he or she should step back to consider the consequences of the decision in five or ten years from now.  Think about how it will make you feel when your child is 24 years old and asks you why you made him testify in court against your ex, making him cry in front of his grandparents, aunts and uncles, teachers who were subpoenaed and other people who were in court for moral support....

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Why Does Court Take So Long?

Why Does Court Take So Long?

Why Does Court Take So Long? It’s no secret that cases take a long time to go through court, especially if you are the person who is asking the court to do something, like order support to be paid. In a nutshell, there are too few judges, a problem that is compounded by the scheduling of judges and attorneys. Our state is burdened with many more cases than available judges to hear them. There are ongoing cuts in the judicial system’s budget. Beyond that, family law cases such as child custody, child support, alimony and equitable distribution take time to prepare. There are numerous “housekeeping” events scheduled around the actual cases, requiring thirty minutes or an hour. Only a small number of cases actually reach the courtroom, but the cases that do can take a long time to be presented.  A custody case or equitable distribution case may take a week or longer in court if there are numerous witness or exhibits.  Real life also slows down the process, such as someone being ill that day or the air conditioning in the courthouse breaking down in July. Cases that settle “on the courthouse steps” at the last-minute might be scheduled for three days, all of which may be wasted if there aren’t any cases that can be heard quickly with last-minute notice.  Even if a client can get there on short notice, trying to fill the court time left available is hard because of judge and attorney schedules. Certain judges have to hear certain cases, and some cases require a judge from another county because a litigant is an attorney or courthouse employee or regular witness such as a social worker or police officer. Emergency cases in family court, such as emergency custody, require the schedules to be further...

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