There is a false perception that all attorneys do is litigate. This false notion is perpetuated by legal movies and television shows. Every attorney in a movie or on television is in court all the time. They live for the argument. There is always a surprise witness or piece of evidence that saves the day and wins the case. We call this the “Perry Mason” moment.
The reality is many attorneys do not litigate at all. The reality is that current discovery rules prevent surprise witnesses or new pieces of evidence at trial. If there is a surprise witness or piece of evidence it is rare. Judges hate surprises. Juries love them. Transactional attorneys are not nearly as “cool” as those who litigate. Transactions with no surprises do not make for good television. So the stereotype that attorneys only litigate continues.
If the case goes to trial at all. Because of the cost of a trial in real dollars as well as economic opportunity costs, most cases settle before it ever gets to the jury.
Attorneys As Problem Solvers
Attorneys by their nature and by training are problem solvers. We are trained to look at the minutia of a case, contract, or statute to find the discrepancies and flaws in the logic and arguments. We are able to analogize and distinguish between facts in our case and the precedent.
An attorney can help you plan because they will be able to see the problems and flaws and help you fix them. Perhaps most importantly the right attorney can help you prevent litigation. It is coincidentally called preventative law. It is not an actual area of law, but a way of thinking. We approach problems in a way that saves you money and helps build relationships.
Hiring an attorney is not inexpensive, however, it is pragmatic and will likely prevent significant issues down the road. Through proper business planning your business can enjoy greater levels of success.
Attorneys Can Do More Than Litigate
Attorneys are good for more than litigation. We are able to prevent problems before they arise. The adage, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” applies. An attorney is able to look at your problem and see potential solutions that do not result in expensive and drawn out litigation. Litigation is not bad per se, however, many people who follow through to judgment do not feel the sense of vindication that they were expecting. Enforcing the judgment can be challenging as well, many non-prevailing parties still do not want to pay. However, having a judgment does allow the prevailing party to garnish wages, obtain a lien on real property, etc. This is what makes litigation useful if you prevail (and it is not up for appeal) you can legally take someone’s property.
Final Thoughts on Litigating
There are many solutions to problems and litigation is just one of them. The idea that attorneys are only good for litigating is false. A person who has a possible legal problem is almost always better off seeking legal counsel from a qualified and competent attorney than figuring it out on their own. If nothing else, it will be faster and less painful. Attorneys went to law school to solve your problems. Give us the opportunity to do what we do best: be your counselor and advocate.
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