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NYC Family Lawyers Should “Speak Softly And Carry A Big Stick”

NYC family lawyers and divorce attorneys alike know that dealing with clients that are emotionally hurt by those whom they once considered their significant other is no easy business.

You probably heard the saying made famous by President Theodore Roosevelt:  “Speak softly and carry a big stick — you will go far.” It stands for the approach of negotiating peacefully while simultaneously threatening with the “big stick”. The “big stick” in the political world meant military and aggression. While many scholars debate if this policy is effective in politics, I think it certainly applies in the matrimonial and family law practice.

Many clients we meet are those who only “speak softly” or can’t stand up for themselves while they tolerate the mental and, in some cases, physical abuse until it becomes unbearable. Others are those who only carry a “big stick” that are aggressive and threatening ready to destroy everything and everyone in their path without any concern if it even makes sense or benefits them. It makes sense why these are the two main categories because our natural reaction to confronting a situation that places us under stress is to “fight or flight”, and being hurt or betrayed by someone you once cared about is certainly one of these situations. Many NYC family lawyers and divorce attorneys will tell you that the best strategy to approach a divorce or a family issue is to be amicable and fair while ready to protect and fight for your rights in court, if needed. So one needs to “speak softly AND cary a big stick.

While this stagey may not fair well in other areas of litigation such as personal injury or a criminal defense for NYC family lawyers and divorce attorneys, looking for an amicable and peaceful resolution to end a bitter custody or property division dispute is often the best approach that benefits clients and their families most. This is because frequently there are many other important considerations such as the best interests of the children or expedient resolution to get the parties to move on that outweigh winning and annihilating the other side in court. If there are children, former partners will ahem to continue working together often for many years to come so preserving a civil relationship is desirable. Often, I encounter other NYC family lawyers and divorce attorneys that become so focused on fighting and winning their arguments that they simply forget to look back and see if these arguments truly benefit their clients and promote their interests. As a client, you should always make sure that you are keeping an eye on the big picture and direct your legal counsel to do the same. Very frequently, you will find that being reasonable and trying to understand both sides while looking for a mutually agreeable arrangement or resolution will help you get what you want. When you are less combative, the other side is likely to respond by making concessions as well. The court and the judges are too busy to fully understand each situation, and their decisions when they have to choose between one side amor another often are not beneficial to both sides in the long run. Before thrusting full force into litigation and aggression right out of the gates, NYC family lawyers and divorce attorneys together with their clients should try to find the middle ground by “speaking softly.”

If the other side does not wish to play fair or uses litigation as a way of bullying or pressuring to get their way, the “big stick” must come out and be felt to protect the clients and their rights. Your NYC family lawyers and divorce attorneys must be able to take a strong litigation stance and remind their adversaries that they will not run from a fight and are ready to zealously represent and fight for the best interests of their clients. The matrimonial and family attorneys’ litigation skill set, knowledge of the motion and discovery practice, and experience in court then becomes the “big stick”. In many cases, your attorneys will have to go on the offensive and hurt the other side with some punches to make sure that they are aware that the “big stick” is there to confront them. As a client, it may make you uncomfortable if you are not the aggressive type, but you must follow through in order to maintain that your desire to negotiate is not taken for a weakness or inability to stand your ground.

The trick for NYC family lawyers and divorce attorneys as well as litigants in divorce and family law matters is to know when to negotiate and when to stand firm. It’s easier said then done because both clients and family lawyers are driven by their inherent human responses to protect themselves and those in their care. To be able to achieve the right balance and to “speak softly and carry big stick” in divorce and family law matters requires a great degree of control, confidence, and respect for everyone involved. It also requires focusing on a bigger picture instead of your personal ego. For both NYC family attorneys, divorce lawyers and the clients alike, this is certainly an approach worth mastering.