Aikido vs. Aggressive Representation

By Brenda L. Storey, Esq.

A client recently told me I was like an Aikido Master.   Before getting offended, I thought it best to look up the definition of “Aikido.:  Aikido (Japanese: 合気道 Hepburn: aikidō) (Kyūjitai: 合氣道) [aikiꜜdoː] is a modern Japanese martial art developed by Morihei Ueshiba as a synthesis of his martial studies, philosophy and religious beliefs. … Aikido is often translated as “the way of unifying (with) life energy” or as “the way of harmonious spirit.”

Now this I took as a compliment.

The belief behind this art is that fighting and endless conflict are never the answer. This is true in all aspects of life, including during a domestic relations legal case.   Many potential new clients ask if our firm offers aggressive representation.   We are quick to say no, and then explain that such representation ultimately will get the client nowhere, their relationship with the future ex-spouse further damaged, and increase the legal fees.   Further, Courts do not like aggressive tactics, causing even more backlash for the client.   Rather, assertive and smart representation, that focuses on the facts rather than making personal attacks on the other party, that limits the engagement and ultimately resolves the conflict, without causing harm, is the greater path.

I like to explain to clients that if opposing counsel is not of like-mind, and instead personally attacks my client with digs, labels and allegations, I will not respond in kind.   Again, if I were to engage it would get the parties, and their case, nowhere.   With my client introducing me to “Aikido,” I have learned that this philosophy of mine in squarely within Aikido techniques—which “are purely defensive, we never meet force with force. Instead, we learn to redirect an aggressor’s attack, leading to a peaceful resolution.”   Yes, that is exactly it!

This martial art thinking is something that can and should be adopted in all parts of our lives.   It is, has been, and will continue to be part of my legal representation of each and every client.   Just breaking down the name even inspires me, and I hope it does you as well.  ‘Ai’ (harmony, love, collaboration) ‘Ki’ (power, energy) ‘Do’ (way or path).