By Attorney Howard Iken: Attorneys can be interesting people. Especially divorce attorneys. Sometimes I like to play amateur psychologist. VERY amateur – but I still get a kick out of it because it keeps me interested and helps me do my job better. Here is a common game that attorney play in the courthouse. The game is called “I know more people than you.” Here is the gist of it: an opposing lawyer makes a big point of saying hello and sharing events with everyone they see. They see a bailiff and shout “How is the handyman business going !” Other attorneys in the hallway are suddenly their long lost friend. The court reporter becomes a close relative. They know everyone’s family, are an expert on new programs, and commiserate on shortages of tax dollars. And there is always some indication that they were just dying to see the judge and ask how their day is going. It is a mini version of a politician shaking hands and kissing babies. That attorney suddenly becomes the most popular, the most charismatic, the most interesting talker in town. They are a truly dynamic individual in a see of other dynamic individuals. It is all a careful, skilled application of psychology. The intended audience is the opposing party and the opposing attorney. And the bottom line message is: I know more people than you. The subplot to the message: this is a club, I am a member, everyone likes me, and they may not like you. So what is the point of this? It is to suggest they have special pull, an easier time, and privileges that an outsider can only dream of. It is an interesting game that has a solution: ignore the show and concentrate on your case. The fact is that your average judge is not affected by the show and is more impressed with preparation and thought – out arguments.
Attorney Howard Iken is a bankruptcy and family law attorney. He also mediates cases as a family law mediator in the Tampa Bay area.