On July 8, 2014
Many attorneys brag about their record in court and proclaim themselves to be among the toughest and most successful litigators in the state. While we have achieved many successful resolutions for our clients, if it were up to us, we would never see another courtroom again.
California’s courts are among the most backlogged, expensive and frustrating legal systems in the country. We can tell story after story about the enormous costs and wasted efforts that have resulted from frivolous litigation filed by those who use litigation as way to bully their way to a desired result. We are often dismayed that so many attorneys take on such cases without any thought to the merits or the motives of their clients. And due to state budget cuts and an ever-increasing docket, judges are overloaded and cannot reasonably manage cases to resolution until both parties have spent themselves to ruin.
Despite the fact that justice may not always result from our legal process, we have successfully defended many of our clients when they have found themselves the subject of a lawsuit. We define “success” differently than a win-at-all costs approach. “Success” is making sure that we are spending only what is absolutely necessary to defend our client’s interests, and always in full consultation with our client of the pros and cons of each additional step we take. Sometimes that means holding back on a full court press until it is clear that the case will not settle, or quickly moving towards settlement if our client has real exposure.
When we are asked by our clients to file suit, we are not shy about trying to talk our clients out of a lawsuit. Many times the expense of litigation — including the lost value of other opportunities the company could have pursued were it not distracted by protracted litigation – far outweigh any benefit the company might gain. Of course, there are times when litigation is the only reasonable option, and we are prepared to seek redress through the courts if it is the best way to recover real damages suffered by our clients.
There is no one-size-fits-all solution to filing or defending an action in court. We start every discussion by charting out all the possible scenarios, and then explore what is actually realistic for our client to accomplish through litigation. Because we avoid unnecessary litigation and will often refuse cases we believe are foolish to pursue, our clients trust that we are not seeking to profit from their misfortune or from meritless litigation.
If your only tool is a hammer, then every problem is a nail. To litigators, every problem needs to be resolved in court. We are problem solvers, not just litigators, and we’ll employ every tool in the toolbox before we pick up the hammer.