When to Settle and When to Stand Your Ground
Deciding to settle a case rather than go to trial is a decision with many factors. The strength of your case, financial expense, and time constraints all impact the decision to settle. But the most important factor in the decision is client satisfaction. It is likely that the case matters to your client on a deep, personal level, and they probably have very strong feelings about the outcome. Your job as an attorney is to balance legal realities with client expectation, something that at times can be very difficult to do.
Some clients will choose to settle because they are able to recognize that their case is not necessarily strong enough to go to trial. A judge or jury’s interpretation is very unpredictable. They understand the risks that come with a judge or jury decision. These clients have a realistic understanding that a trial is always a gamble, one they may or may not win. Settlement for them is the less risky option.
Other clients will choose to settle because of privacy. When a case goes to trial, all of the evidence, testimony, and court documents become public record. These clients value their privacy in the matter more than the potential of a more financially favorable outcome. Settlements are most often kept private, and that is always something to consider when dealing with personal client information.
Fear of public speaking is another factor that may lead a client to choose settlement over a trial. Many people are simply terrified of talking in front of other people, and the idea of sitting on the stand for hours being interviewed and cross-examined is just too frightening. If their case would be weak without their testimony, they may choose to settle to avoid the traumatic experience.
Choosing to go to trial is costly financially and demands a lot more time. Trials require an enormous amount of man hours to complete all of the necessary research and preparation. Legal expenses sky-rocket when a case goes to trial. Judge and jury trials are also often very lengthy to complete. It may take years to see the case resolved. Some clients may not have the luxury of time. They may choose to settle because they simply cannot afford to wait.
Then there are clients who are emotionally invested in their case to the point that settlement is not something they would ever consider. And as their attorney, you have to respect these emotions. This happens with both strong and weak cases. Sometimes all you can do is give your best attempt to win a trial and achieve the outcome your client is hoping for.
Whether you settle or stand your ground, there is no doubt that you and your legal team will be busy. A lot of work is required behind the scenes to handle even the smallest case. An office that is efficient and organized will allow you and your legal team the opportunity to spend all of your valuable time meeting the needs of your clients.
Case Pacer is case management software designed by attorneys to meet the specific needs of your law office. Case Pacer will save you time, money and allow more of your resources to be focused on making your clients happy. Contact us today for a free demonstration of what Case Pacer can do for your firm.