Sometimes It Is Better To Be Nice Than Right, But Not Always.

By: Linsey Boatner

My mother always told me that sometimes it is better to be nice than it is to be right. Out of stubbornness, I did not want to listen. I used to be the world’s worst about correcting people. It did not matter, to me, if that person genuinely believed they were correct or if they had a good reason for believing they were right. I would argue with them because I knew they were not and I had the proof. Sometimes I would argue with them even when I did not have the proof. Believe me, I ate my fair share of crow because of it.

I have learned that in a community as small and tight knit as the legal community, it is beneficial to apply my mother’s teaching. Attorneys acquiesce when opposing counsel asks for an extension on a discovery deadline or needs to push a hearing to a later date. Not because the attorney is bargaining from a position of weakness, but because they never know when they will need to ask for the same extension. Sometimes it is okay to give a little in certain areas, even where you know you are right or you know the law is on your side, in order to create good will for the future. It makes communication between the parties more fruitful and aids in resolution. It is very rare that attorneys only have one case against each other. The last thing an attorney wants to do is create enemies. Doing so in the professional community could be far more detrimental to your case than showing the opposing side a small amount of mercy.

With that being said, there is a time to know when enough is enough. When it comes to the point where consenting to a deadline extension or pushing a hearing may negatively impact your case, your attorney is not obligated to accommodate such a request. Your attorney is in the best position to determine when it is acceptable to be lenient and when it is not. They will always have your best interest in mind so trusting that your attorney knows the appropriate decision to make is essential.

This blog is written by the law clerks and interns of the Rice Divorce Team. We document our experience working with Memphis Divorce Lawyer Larry Rice and Memphis Divorce Lawyer Nick Rice, as well as other members of the Rice Divorce Team. The Rice Divorce Team represents clients in Tennessee, including Memphis, Nashville, Jackson, Columbia, Johnson City, and Knoxville. We hope these blog posts will be interesting and show the evolution of students as they move towards being divorce and family lawyers and paralegals. The statements in these posts should not be used as legal advice about divorce or family law.

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