By Judy Hale Reed, Esq., Associate Attorney, of Gusty A.E. Sunseri & Associates, P.C.
As far as litigation is concerned, most studies show that 90% of civil cases are settled before they go to trial. One may assume that the main reason for that phenomenon is the outburst of social media and the prolific dissemination of information. As a result, people are more and more aware of the erratic, sometimes seemingly irrational, decisions made by juries or other triers of fact. In essence, there is just too much risk associated with putting the decision in the hands of others. Of course, because of the availability of the trial results, attorneys have become more effective on convincing their clients to compromise; however, even with the preceding being said, what is risk for the goose is risk for the gander-that is, both sides have risk. Accordingly, the risk card stays in the deck in negotiations with strength or weakness being determined by one word -leverage. Leverage is determined by evaluating the facts, applying the applicable law and comparing the opponent's relative leverage. Some attorneys are better than others in doing this assessment. Obviously, experience, preparation, tenacity and wit help and could make the difference, but there are no crystal balls and there is great risk in going to trial. It's all part of the leverage.