One of my valued clients, who happens to be an engineer by training and otherwise an interesting and dynamic person, made a comment at court today. She had been watching other cases taking place at the courthouse, and marveled at the amount of controversy over objectively small issues. She stated to me and a colleague that “I simply won’t come to court unless the issue in dispute is over a substantial amount of money.”
Now, my colleague and I have both worked hard to keep court costs for clients as low as possible; both of us practice this cost effective way. We both agreed that it pains us as legal professionals to see people exhaust precious family funds on wrongheaded legal disputes.
What my client was speaking to was this universal concern that litigants should be mindful of the costs of litigation, and that many disputes are amenable to resolution without the costs, uncertainties, and stresses of litigation. This same philosophy of cost saving and collaboration underlies the movement toward collaborative and cooperative divorce.
If you have a family law concern, be ready to embrace the cutting edge strategies that a few of us in the legal profession have embraced in the right cases. Collaboration. Mediation. Alternative dispute resolution. Sure, some cases need to be aggressively litigated, and some matters need a judge’s active intervention. I am a trial lawyer by training, and know how to win a war. But many other cases and clients need only to find a more balanced, cost effective and practical means to solve their more minor or resolvable disputes.
What did Abraham Lincoln once say? “Discourage litigation. Persuade your neighbors to compromise whenever you can. As a peacemaker the lawyer has superior opportunity of being a good man. There will still be business enough.”