People understandably look to courts to fix their problems. However, this is not like TV, where complex disputes are resolved in 30 minutes and the process is filled with drama. Rather, the legal system (or the wheels of justice) is more often compared by those who practice to the “mills of God” as described in lines from a poem from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow: “Though the mills of God grind slowly; Yet they grind exceeding small.” In the real world, the legal process is slow, expensive, and emotionally draining. While the legal process may be the only way to fix some problems, in other cases it may simply be too expensive, too risky and/or time consuming.
Litigation is expensive. Typical cases cost tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees and expenses. While some may be less costly, other cases cost more. Accordingly, to justify litigation, there must be a sufficient amount of money in dispute. Whether an attorney will consider taking a case on a contingency basis (be paid a percentage of the recovery) will depend on the facts of the case and the amount of money at issue.
Regardless of the financial cost, those considering litigation need to appreciate that many cases take a year or more to resolve, and that the process is typically both time consuming and emotionally draining. At the outset, you need to decide whether you are “up to the fight,” or, after thinking it over, you may decide that you have better things to do with your time, money and emotions.
Another important factor in deciding whether to proceed with litigation is the strength of your case. That is, what is the likelihood of a favorable outcome? While it is never possible to tell how a case will come out based on an initial consultation with clients and review of documents, even at the early stage an experienced attorney can identify the strengths and weaknesses in a case.
Lawyers always separate in their minds the facts and the law. The facts are unique to each case. The law is the same. It is the combination of the facts and law that determines the strength of any case, and it is the ability of an experienced attorney to combine the law with the facts to present the strongest case. That is the reason you seek qualified counsel. While you will likely know the facts of the case better than your lawyer, your lawyer will know which facts are legally significant based on the law.