Finding yourself in the midst of a dispute that requires a resort to litigation and the hiring of an attorney can be a stressful time. This rings true for everyone from the individual to the business owner. These issues can often be the most important thing occurring in your life, and the all-consuming nature of the dispute can lead to certain anxieties regarding your case. More often than not, there are three common areas of concerns for those who are seeking the assistance of an attorney; (1) the cost, (2) the length of time it will take to get relief, and (3) how assured you can be of a win in your case.
- COST OF THE CASE: The cost of the case can greatly depend on what fee structure you have agreed upon with your attorney, and the likelihood that parties are able to come to a mutually agreeable resolution outside of full-blown litigation. As for the fee structure, you may be able to hire an attorney for no money out of pocket on a contingency fee basis, however there are risks associated with this. If you agree to a 25-30% contingent fee structure, the convenience of your not paying an attorney on an hourly-basis may be outweighed if you win your case and the attorney ends up not spending the time it would take to justify taking 25-30% of your winnings. Secondly, if it appears that the parties are at such loggerheads that there is no possibility of a reasonable settlement outside of litigation, your costs could increase in order to pursue the case all the way through trial and beyond.
- THE LENGTH OF TIME OF YOUR CASE: Clients understandably would like to be made whole as soon as possible, however, litigation can take time in our court system. A good attorney can be proactive in trying to convince an opposing party to settle your case as quickly as possible in an amount with which you are comfortable with, but if there is no reasonable likelihood of settlement, than your case may need to go through all stages of hearings, written discovery, depositions, trial, and perhaps ultimately collection. This can take months and years. Not to mention the fact that some local jurisdictions often set trials out almost a year due to their large dockets.
- HOW ASSURED YOU CAN BE OF A WIN: Sometimes it is difficult for clients to understand that often times the law is not black and white. There are times when there are no right answers. A lawyer handling your case will simply try to argue the facts of your case in a manner that best fits the law at issue. It will ultimately be up to the fact-finder (i.e. the judge or the jury) to determine which side’s argument is most plausible. Be very wary of the lawyer who guarantees the success of a case, as there are many factors which can influence the ultimate outcome.