Secrets to Winning Your Legal Dispute

“I’ll see you in court.”

How terrifying are those words?

At the start of a lawsuit, everything you see is coloured by your fear, anger or desire to crush your opponents.

A lawsuit is a dangerous weapon which you must know how to use, as well as alternative ways to resolve disputes.

Unless you have experience with lawyers or judges, you cannot understand what goes on in a lawsuit.

You probably have misconceptions that need to be dispelled.

Believe me, it’s not like what you see on television when someone sues you.

Stay tuned to my blog to find out what really happens when you go to court.

If You Want to Win

I had arrived to watch a bad ending to an unhappy story. It was Friday morning and I was rushing to court. Emily, a woman in her late fifties, was standing outside the doors to courtroom 204 with her husband. She was speaking to a younger man who appeared to be her lawyer.

Emily was steaming, her jaw was clenched, and her husband was holding her back. “I will take the settlement offer. I have no other choice. I hope to God I never need a lawyer again,” Emily declared.

What had gone wrong? Had she thought she would win her case in court? Her search for justice did not appear to be going as she had expected. Before her lawyer could explain, Emily turned around and walked away in disgust.

As a lawyer, I am used to dealing with people who need to express their anger or fear in stressful situations.

I have always managed this in private for my sake and my clients. These poor souls, however, were on public display and everyone, including the justice system, looked bad.

Why Things Go Wrong

Now I was curious. I speculated about what had gone wrong. Perhaps Emily was unprepared to hear what her lawyer was saying? Her lawyer’s explanations meant nothing to her because she was too upset to hear more bad news.

Emily had probably spent a small fortune in legal fees and had waited more than two years for her day in court. She expected her lawyer to fight and win.

But on the day of her big battle, instead of going for the other side’s jugular, her lawyer was suddenly telling her to take the other side’s offer to settle.

Did her lawyer stop believing in her case? Was he afraid of the judge who bluntly told him to settle her case without trial?

Emily paid her lawyer fully expecting he’d make heads roll. Instead, he had turned chicken. Now she was running across the marble floor, down the corridor, and away from her disappointment. She stopped and turned to confront her lawyer who was pursuing her.

“I ended up with a broken ankle, three surgeries, one steel plate and months of therapy without pay. I did nothing wrong. I am the innocent victim here.” Emily cried. “Why do I have to prove something so obvious in a courtroom? I did nothing wrong. Why am I supposed to settle?”

In my next post, I’ll explain why this happened.

You can learn more about mediation in my free guide, Estate Mediation: Answers to 10 Frequently Asked Questions.