Is Commercial Litigation Really “Worth It”? | Calkins Law Firm

Is Commercial Litigation Really “Worth It”?

December 12, 2016

At Calkins Law Firm, we certainly know how to “put up a good fight” and to put our client’s best case forward in commercial litigation matters.

Effectively understanding contested issues, marshalling evidence, and then presenting the client’s case is more than half of the battle in commercial litigation.

But one has to ask whether full-blown commercial litigation–fighting it out all of the way through a court trial–is really “worth it”?

Yes, from time to time one party has its way with the other in court. That typically happens where one party is poorly represented or has no case to make to the court.

In general, commercial litigation is painfully slow and unfortunately–but also unavoidably–costly.  Further, there is a great deal of unfortunate, but seemingly unavoidable, uncertainty as to whether the party with the better case can and will “win.”

So we typically advise our clients that, all things considered, in most cases it is best to settle their commercial litigation cases short of trial.

We take considerable time and care to understand, support and present our client’s case. We can’t and won’t be unprepared.

We work long and hard to clearly and convincingly build the case for our client, and to present that case to the adversary either before or relatively shortly after a case is filed in court.

By building a compelling case for our client up front, we typically maximize the likelihood of our client achieving an early and fair settlement (at minimal cost) for their business litigation.

And that is our goal in most instances.

Once in a while it becomes necessary to go all the way to trial. Most often, if our client is sued and the claim is frivolous or if our client has a legitimate claim that our adversary will not take seriously we will attempt to win on summary judgment.

Our preferred approach is to do our homework up front and to settle cases as quickly as possible and on a fair and equitable basis.

We have had a great deal of success with this approach, often resolving even modest-sized claims cost effectively and without ever even having to file a complaint in court.

Thirty years ago, when I was working at an old-style law firm, I was told that the firm could not handle a $50,000 claim cost effectively (and $50,000 thirty years ago is worth much more today).

My experience is that we can now handle even much more modest claims than $50,000 cost effectively, but to do so we have to be very careful to avoid a full-blown knock-down drag-out court battle.

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