Is "Aggression" Necessary In Legal Practice?

Confident attorney

There seems to be this misconception that successful attorneys are brash, aggressive, loud individuals who will stop at nothing to represent their clients. And yes, there are some successful attorneys like this. But it's definitely not necessary.

In fact, I’d say that confidence matters more than aggressiveness. Essentially, be more like James Comey and less like Ari Gold.


There’s no way around it: confidence matters in the legal field.

It matters when you’re discussing a research project with a colleague in your firm. It matters when you’re trying to pitch your services to new clients. Hell, I’d argue it’s important when you’re simply socializing with colleagues or clients.

Law is a service business and the way that you carry yourself—even outside the office—is a subconscious tell on how you’ll handle problems presented to you by clients or your colleagues.

Confidence is especially crucial if you want to be a litigator. And it’s not only in the courtroom—although this is where it mostly comes to life. You’ll have to be on your game and confidently defend your client on conference calls with opposing counsel, during depositions, and yes, while arguing in front of a judge. Preparation is critical and you’ll need to be intimately familiar with your case law. And if you’re not truly feeling confident? Sometimes you need to fake it until you make it.

But as far as aggressiveness, you definitely don’t have to be the Ari Gold of the legal world to be successful. In fact, I’d argue that a calm, collected, and confident attorney is more effective than an aggressive attorney who, for example, strongarms opposing counsel or pushes ethical or legal boundaries on behalf of a client.