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Many leaseholds are like bad marriages: What begins happily becomes unbearable. At some point separation is unavoidable. What I do is help landlords and tenants get divorced.

My default approach is to help both parties find a peaceful and cost-effective way to separate. A by-the-book eviction can be costly and painful for all. An irate landlord can cause a tenant much pain; an intransigent tenant can make an eviction long and expensive. The best result for one party is usually the best result for the other. What I try to do is help my client’s adversary (and my client) recognize that a little bit of cooperation — the last little bit — is often in both parties’ interest.

Of course, sometimes this doesn’t work, and then a vigorous eviction — or defense — is what one must do. And I know how to do it.

It is hard to underestimate the importance of that knowledge. Evictions look easy: The courts provide forms on their website and most people handle the matter themselves. But my experience in the courts has taught me that judges are very particular about the procedure in eviction cases. Countless times I have witnessed parties with strong cases lose because they didn’t know the few magic words that can turn a loss into a win. Unless you know those words, you should not handle the matter yourself.

When I started doing eviction cases, I only represented tenants, under the foolish assumption that virtue lay on their side. Experience has taught me what I should have known: Just as there are grasping landlords, there are also nasty tenants. I now represent both — not grasping and nasty — but tenants and landlords. Should you find yourself trapped in an unpleasant relationship with either, I will do my best to help you find a peaceful and inexpensive resolution to your problem.