I have heard it said that military men who have been in combat are some of the most reluctant people to send troops into combat. They have experienced the horrors of war and know the gravity of the decision imperil others lives.
Attorneys should operate in the same fashion. Litigation is costly, time consuming and taxes the resources of all parties. If the litigation involves indivduals rather than businesses, it can be particular emotional and gut-wrenchingly painful. Even when businesses are battling it out in court the net result is often a loss for both businesses. Both sides pay a boatload of attorney fees and then end up splitting the baby with a settlement.
Although it might seem easy for an attorney to encourage settlement, it much tougher in practice. Settlement or even settlement discussion is often viewed as a sign of weakness or timidity. I recently worked with a client who chose the status quo and some uncertainty over filing a lawsuit. The reasons? the costs are to high and the favorable outcome simply isn’t motivating enough to act.
It is easy to work up a client into frenzy with all the potential legal claims you can pursue, its much tougher for attorneys (including me) to separate some of the emotion to allow consideration of non-litigation alternatives.