Who is a good lawyer?

Angela Princewill

May 5, 2022
Many people mistake an excellent lawyer for one who is overly aggressive and advances the client’s position blindly. Add some theatrics, and that’s a great lawyer, right? Straight out of the TV. Well, wrong!


Here are three reasons why that’s the worst type of lawyer for you (I mean, we could have provided ten reasons but we thought a good lawyer would keep things short and simple):
  1. Your matter would be prolonged and would be unnecessarily expensive.
  2. You may have heard the expression, you catch more bees with honey. Well, an overly aggressive lawyer would repel the other side and the judge for sure, ruining any possibility of settlement.
  3. It’s your life, not a freaking movie!


In contrast, a good lawyer is one that knows the law and advises you accordingly. A good lawyer would not allow you to blindly pursue a position with zero chances of success.


Think about it. Do you want to make a point, or do you want a solution? A good lawyer is always focused on solutions. They recognize that not every issue is worth pursuing. At AP Lawyers, we’re always asking – is the cost worth the benefit of pursuing this particular issue? This is a hard question that we never stop asking throughout the time that we have carriage of a file. Of course, there are times when the principle of a thing may justify advancing the issue, costs are damned. But our clients would be well aware of what they are doing and would fully understand that the cost may not be worth it. Even in those rare situations, we would keep things as simple as possible.


Speaking of simple, I remember a saying I haven’t heard in a while – keep it simple, stupid! I wish I could tell that to some of my colleagues sometimes. A good lawyer would simplify your issues. No matter how complicated a situation might appear to be, a good lawyer would be able to cut the fat and distill it down to its simplest legal basics. Why is this important, because the simpler it is, the easier it is to settle, meditate, or get a judge’s ruling on. Remember, you want solutions, not a show.


People underestimate how effective a level-headed lawyer can be. For starters, lawyers are supposed to be part of finding a solution, not simply being a mouthpiece for their clients and assuming the problem is their own. When dealing with a separation, for example, it is imperative for the lawyer to remember this it is not their personal fight. The lawyers are not the ones whose hearts are broken. They are not the ones who married that jerk. They did not have to live in the same household with that slob. The lawyers didn’t. Yes, it is incredibly difficult for our team at AP Lawyers because we have so much compassion for our clients, and we want to champion their cause, but we must step back from time to time, as good lawyers, to remember that our role is to find the best possible legal solution for our clients. That’s our role.


In the quest for getting the best possible legal outcome for our clients, a good lawyer would remain professional and civil to the other party and their lawyer. It always baffles me to find people who claim they want an amicable resolution being so antagonistic. How does that make sense? If you truly want a negotiated settlement, there’s absolutely no room for aggressive, antagonistic behaviour. It blocks every possibility of settlement.  Many clients think aggressive behaviour is what good legal representation looks like, but they do not recognize that their lawyer is blocking every opportunity for settlement that there could have been.


Lastly, the best lawyer in the room is not the one who shouts the loudest. A good lawyer knows when not to speak. When your case is made, or when it’s clear you have the judge in your corner, you may risk blowing the case by speaking more than necessary. Also, if you’re dealing with another lawyer and a judge, chances are they also know the law. Shouting and posturing do not hide a weak case. It may impress your client and possibly a self-represented party, but a judge would not be fooled.

If you need any help with family law matters, contact AP Family Lawyers in Toronto, Pickering, Markham, and Scarborough. You can call us at (905) 492-7662 or email us at [email protected] to schedule a consultation.

Remember, it’s your life, not a movie. You want solutions and not a show. Good luck