The 90%: General Litigation and Settlements
An estimated half million civil lawsuits are filed in Federal Courts every year, at an annual cost estimated at $233 billion dollars. Yet only about 2% of those suits actually go to trial. Some are dropped, some are dismissed in hearings, and the rest – the vast majority – are settled before trial. This is because of two basic facts: One, lawsuits are often used as tools, as blunt instruments to force the other party to negotiate, and two, most lawsuits are won or lost in the preparation phase. Still, you must choose a lawyer who is experienced and ready for either eventuality – not a ‘specialist’ who always seeks to settle and shies away from general litigation.
Having the right lawyers on your side when you’re planning general litigation makes all the difference. The right lawyer will examine all the details of your case and advise on your best approach. They will suggest mediation or arbitration if that seems like a better option, and they will advise on a trial if they feel that the weight of evidence is on your side. Whatever their advice, they will know that the way to prevail in a trial – or force an optimal settlement – is to prepare properly.
Research and investigation is the key. Every facet of your case must be examined closely and compared to the governing law. An experienced and knowledgeable lawyer uses this preparation phase wisely, and is ready for either eventuality: If a settlement opportunity that is advantageous to his client appears, he is ready to seize it. On the other hand, if you are one of the 2% that can find no common ground and take the suit to court, you want the lawyer that has done their homework and is ready to do battle with every possible tool on your side. Whether you’re the 90% or the 2% – or even somewhere in-between – the key is in the preparation.