A discussion of the financial considerations to be taken into account when contemplating litigation.
Winning litigation often comes down to one thing: financial endurance.
Unfortunately, in the current judicial system merit has little to do with non-trial outcomes. If the facts and evidence are in your favour, but you can’t afford to show that in court, you’re out of luck. But even if you are able to afford to take the matter through to trial and you spend more on your lawyer than what’s being fought over, that’s hardly a victory. Remember, you rarely get all your legal fees back after a trial victory.
The first consideration when choosing to pursue litigation is whether it is worth it financially. The importance of that cost-benefit analysis cannot be over emphasized and it is something in which I encourage my clients to engage, not only at the beginning, but at every stage of litigation. The average trial will cost you $30-50,000 from beginning to end, and that end can be years down the road. It’s very unwise to start a law suit in order to teach someone a lesson, because it may end up being a very expensive teaching experience. If you want more than just catharsis and a sorry looking bank account, ensure you have a clear head and a solid case.
Finally, I always tell my clients: “There’s a difference between a judgment and collection.” Part of that cost-benefit analysis should be to determine if the party you’re suing has any money or assets to satisfy a favorable judgment. And if they do, how much it will cost you to enforce judgment against them.
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