I recently came across a blog written by an Alabama divorce attorney that covers one of the questions our firm is asked a lot: You look so nice, but can you be "mean"? Typically people come into our office looking not only for a way to move on with their lives, but also for some sort of revenge. The style of your lawyer will greatly influence to what extent this is possible and appropriate.
Divorce lawyers generally fit into one of three categories: (1) the lamb; (2) the bulldog; and (3) the fox. The lamb is the type of lawyer who takes a reactive instead of a proactive approach to case management. The lamb avoids confrontation with his or her client and opposing counsel at all costs, and often at a disadvantage to the client. In short, the lamb's laissez-faire mentality hinders client advancement and often results in an inequitable resolution of the case.
Directly opposite the lamb is the bulldog. The bulldog seeks out confrontation (often on frivolous issues) at all costs and is typically the first personality type that comes to mind when clients think of a "mean" lawyer. Although the bulldog's aggression is no doubt appropriate in some instances, it also poses an obstacle in the road towards favorable resolution. The bulldog's aggressive approach can end up costing the client both in terms of property and custody matters but also in unnecessary attorneys fees.
Finally, we have the fox. The fox sees the forest through the trees and is cunning enough to know when aggression is appropriate and when it is not. Unlike the lamb, the fox is not afraid of confrontation; and unlike the bulldog, the fox knows that fair out of court settlement are always preferred to litigation. The fox is assertive when appropriate and aware of the consequences of its actions.
Do yourself a favor when searching for a divorce attorney and hire yourself a fox (our Dallas divorce firm has three of them). You'll be far better off in the long run than you would with a bulldog.