Can A “Mad Dog” Aggressive Attorney Actually Hurt My Business?

You’ve probably seen them on billboards or heard them on the radio – “mad dog” attorneys who say they will fight aggressively on your behalf. Sure, hearing your attorney is “aggressive” can be reassuring when it thinks of protecting your business – but what does that really mean, and is it the kind of thing that really provides the protection you and your business need to secure a long future of customer relationships and profitability? Can the “mad dog” lawyer hurt your business prospects?

Of course, this begs the bigger question of what kind of attorney is right for my business? When we look at the characteristics of a good business attorney and a so-called “mad dog” attorney is there much overlap or even any at all? Is a “mad dog” attorney the same as a “battle-tested lawyer”?

Needless Aggression Creates Controversy Instead of Harmony

When it comes down to it. You and your business primarily need an attorney who puts your interests first and foremost. The truth of the matter is that in business negotiations, as in the courtroom, acting respectfully and thoughtfully puts less stress on the relationship – helping ensure a stronger, longer lasting relationship between you and the clients/vendors for which your attorney negotiates agreements. A battle-tested lawyer will know the best approach to effective representation by gauging the people and the circumstances (which may be variable during the course of a negotiation or representation).

Compare this to a “mad dog” attorney that needs to be aggressive because it’s their “brand”. “Mad dog” attorneys often proceed relying on their attempts to intimidate and control, in order to “win” as much as possible for their clients. The approach may conflict with and ultimately undermine the protection they are trying to offer or decision they are attempting to influence.

Unnecessary conflict can hardly be expected to serve as a tool to help drive better business outcomes and preserve relationships, so why hire an attorney who brands themselves on aggressive behavior? A “mad dog” lawyer may pound the table in an attempt to bully a course of action.  Nobody likes a bully! And where your business or personal demeanor favors the preservation of dignity and relationships, the “mad dog” may poison both!

Finding an attorney who helps you build synergy, not conflict

Your business will benefit from strong relationships that will help you maintain a competitive advantage while avoiding unnecessary conflict, disputes and litigation. Finding an attorney who understands that a balanced approach or taking the “high road” can invite more business than the bully approach makes business sense.

Ultimately, the central difference between an aggressive, “mad dog” attorney and a good business attorney lies in how they view each case. A good attorney will never just try a case. Instead, they’ll want to resolve it. And frankly, most case studies will show that more cases are settled or resolved prior to trial or on the court house steps, than ultimately go to trial.  And this, after clients have already spent an enormous amount of money using the fight and win at all costs approach. One thing seems certain.  That is, a prolonged dispute can be better for the lawyer’s pocketbook. Cooperation costs clients less in legal fees, preserves relationships, and gives them their best chance at a true resolution instead of a scorched-earth approach, that irrevocably destroys the business and personal relationships.

Many client’s do prefer the scorched-earth mentality, and if that ids your preference there is an abundance of lawyers that will accommodate that view. Ultimately, “scorched-earth” approaches should only be a last resort for the vast majority of clients – if at all. Whatever the case, in many circumstances one may risk far more than she would stand to gain by having this as your default negotiation/resolution tactic.

In Conclusion

A small business attorney can help you draft a partnership agreement that protects you, your partner, and your business. There is little to be gained from an aggressive approach to such things. If you have any additional questions about what kind of attorney is right for your business or wish to discuss other related legal issues, call Stephen Rizzieri at 214.434.1017 or fill out the form on our law firm site today.