In this brief Blog article we will discuss one of the most critical decisions in business litigation -- the decision whether to go to trial or settle the case. This issue is just as critical in the context of trust litigation. This question is always an interesting dynamic in litigation, in part because the decision to settle the case is always, without exception, ultimately a question for the client to decide.
Settlement has a number of advantages; some obvious and some not. The most critical of these are:
- Settlement avoids additional cost. It always costs money to prepare for trial and actually try the case. The expenses in the weeks running up to actual trial can be considerable, as can the costs of the actual trial.
- Settlement allows you to control the outcome. Trial always entails some risk of a disappointing outcome. Even the most meritorious case is not a 100% certainty in terms of outcome.
- Settlement usually achieves finality. Even if you win a trial, the other side sometimes can appeal, and drag the matter out for years. Settlement normally closes the door to appeal.
At Buffington Law Firm, we believe that the most effective way to induce the opposing side to enter into a settlement that is favorable to our client is to diligently prepare for trial. When the other side sees that we are prepared to take a matter to trial this often induces them to enter into a settlement that achieves our client's litigation objectives. Alternatively, when the other side is simply intransigent it is vital that the attorneys are prepared to try the case effectively. It is a fact of life that sometimes either the opposing side, or their attorneys, refuse to see reason. When this happens a trial is necessary to protect our client's rights. Buffington Law Firm's litigation attorneys never take a case that we are not prepared to take all the way to trial and verdict. Often when the other side sees this, it induces them to settle the case fairly. If not, we are prepared to go to court.
Preparing for trial need not be overly expensive. At Buffington Law Firm we view every case as a financial investment by the client, with our ultimate goal to maximize our client's financial outcome. A case with $50,000 will obviously be litigated with a tighter budget than a case in which there is $5 million at issue. The stories we all hear of litigation becoming excessively costly often derive from situations in which the attorneys (or the clients) lose sight of cost-benefit considerations in budgeting for trial. At Buffington Law Firm we always keep our eye on considerations of cost.
If you have a prospective case, we invite you to begin the process at no cost at all with a free legal consultation with one of our experienced business and trust litigation attorneys.