On January 12, 2012, Dennis Collard and I will be presenting at the State Bar of Georgia on “Winning Settlement Strategies. The seminar brochure can be accessed by clicking here (click for brochure). We are the final speakers for this fine seminar being put on by the General Practice and Trial Law section of the State Bar of Georgia. Other fine speakers include Pete Law and Judge Gino Brogdon among others.
Too often the focus on lawyer education is on how to go to trial. While our particular presentation does indeed cover preparing for trial, our overall point is that by preparing well for trial, you make it more likely you will achieve an appropriate settlement. As with most seminars, the best part of the day will be listening to and watching the other speakers so that I may learn from them. If you are able to join us, please do. And if you have any suggestions for us to consider incorporating into our presentation, please let us know.
Why is the McCourt’s divorce unique? Because lately the high profile cases in the news have been resolved out of court (Think Tiger Woods, Sandra Bullock and A-Rod). In fact, most high profile matters our firm is involved in are settled without any press and with very little expense. Actually going to trial with so many dollars at stake (and so much public reputation to lose) is becoming rarer and rarer. But the McCourts are there (click here for link to UPI story). No doubt the lawyers tried their best to guide the parties to resolution. Lawyers of that caliber always do. But when one party (or both) think their position is blatantly reasonable, or is an obvious “winner” in court (there is no such thing), it can be hard to settle a case. Some cases are just easier to try.
Unfortunately for the McCourts, it appears the court will decide their divorce which is guaranteed to make one, if not both parties displeased with the outcome.
On ocassion we encounter a stubborn opponent (opposing party or opposing lawyer). Even then, steps are taken to try to reach resolution. Mediation, settlement conferences and even pre-trial conferences with the judge are usually attempted to promote settlement. We also sometimes utilize a process known as Late (or Early) Case Evaluation. This process entails hiring a family law attorney who is respected by both sides to give everyone a “reality check”. Sometimes that does the trick. But when someone is truly unreasonable, the only way to resolve a case is trial. But even then, the good lawyers can only ease their conscience if they have truly attempted settlement first. But once settlement efforts are exhausted, trial becomes inevitable. Perhaps the one benefit of the McCourts actually going to trial is that others will realize how risky and costly trial can be, and thus become more determined to resolve their own cases privately. Let’s hope the message is sent, and heard, loudly and clearly.
What an annual meeting! The CLE programs have been wonderful, and for those of you still here in San Francisco at the 2010 ABA Annual Meeting, there is one more “MUST-SEE”. At 10:30 am today (Sunday), there is a presentation on “Trying High Profile Cases in a 24/7 New Media World”. What is amazing is who is on the panel of presenters. Among the five panelists will be David Boies, who just successfully argued and tried the Proposition 8 case. Is it possible to have another presenter as timely as him? Yes, The Honorable Vaughn Walker, the judge who decided that case will be on the panel as well. Many ABA groups are co sponsoring the program and I am sure it will be packed, so I just hope there is room for everyone who wants to attend, including me which means we should all get there early.
There has already been a tremendous amount of educational information sharing, but to be in San Francisco and to get to go watch and listen to the lawyer and judge who just tried one of the most intriguing and possibly society-changing cases in our lifetime makes it worth rising early and standing in line to listen, watch and soak in as much as possible before this 2010 Annual Meeting ends. I am looking forward to the program and I look forward to learning from it and sharing.