What is the difference between a pitbull and the opposing counsel I went up against today? Absolutely nothing.
Today was my first appearance in court, a pre-trial settlement hearing. I was not as nervous about speaking in court as I was because I had no idea what was going to happen at the hearing. The case is so far along, many different things could have happened, and I did not feel like I had enough time to prepare for it all. I basically did not want to be blindsided and hurt my client.
Fortunately all of that nervousness went away when opposing counsel confronted me in the hallway before the hearing. Basically, he was a bully; chuckling at my legitimate claims and condescendingly telling me good luck, he would see me at trial. Instead of worrying about the unknowns of the hearing, I became much more focused on fighting for my client, showing this lawyer that I was not the idiot he thought I was, and kicking his butt. Yeah, I am just a little bit competitive and my opponents should not trigger that side of me.
Overall, the hearing went well and very quickly. I said all my lines correctly and answered all of the judge's questions comfortably. We set a date for the actual trial with a new judge, which was a little sad because this one seemed to like me and not like opposing counsel much.
At first I thought opposing counsel was just a jerk to me because I was a young, inexperienced student attorney that he thought he could intimidate. But you could tell how he was not respectful of the judge and completely rude to his own client. In fact, after trial, he yelled at his client to shut up when she tried to talk to me. I know that people joke that you have to have icy veins or be heartless to stay sane in family law, but boy this guy was a complete tool.