Thursday, January 28, 2010

Why It Pays To Stay Out Of Court

PetitionerImage by Sunny.x via Flickr
By Beverly Caboteja
Everybody wants justice. Justice maybe right next door but it takes a while to find it. It demands patience. Some people are better at it than others. Some people just give up.
That is why a lot of people run after litigations and seek for the best lawyers in town to only get what is due them. But oftentimes letting go of the idea to be in trial to acquire justice is not passivity. It is not the same thing as simply resigning oneself to whatever circumstances come along. Rather, it is simply embracing the possibility that everything can be settled without laying too much burden on oneself. And this is how suggestive amicable settlement is.
Amicable Settlement, as defined, is the most common form of dispute resolution between contending parties. This is a discussion or negotiation process between the parties involved with a view to find a commonly accepted solution for the disputes that have arisen and one which satisfies both parties. The resolution through amicable settlement presumes that the parties are willing to proceed with mutual concessions in order to bring about a win - win situation.
While the court will work for harmonizing views among the two sides, both parties are expected to make utmost, sincere and serious efforts and come together to elude costly litigation and arrive at a just and peaceful solution to teething troubles. With this, procrastinations caused by trial resulting to complexities between parties, are deemed bunged.
So why one would opt an amicable settlement rather than exhaust himself from the rigors of an arduous or backbreaking trial? Few of the reasons would say so. Amicable Settlement as a method of dispute resolution is characterized by the following advantages:
1. Lesser expenses, more savings
One effect of an amicable settlement of a lawsuit is a reduction in expenses associated with ones case. By reducing expenses, you come to save more of your money. The quicker it concludes, the lesser time, one will be in court.
A lawsuit that ends up going to trial oftentimes hinge on the courts for years. Certainly, months will pass before a lawsuit makes its way to a trial stage. An effect and benefit of an amicable settlement of a case is that it concludes quicker. The disputes are resolved within a shorter period of time. Rather than spending months or even years in court, you are able to conclude the matter and have your settlement payment in hand in a fraction of the time.
2. Everybody goes home happy.
Well settled is the rule that settlement in civil cases is encouraged to save time and expense. One party gets from the other and vice versa. Such agreement will be submitted in court. And it is noteworthy that one positive effect of an amicable settlement is that you know you will be getting at least some type of recovery. Neither of the parties wins nor loses. So everybody goes home happy.
3. Limits emotional hang-ups
Lawsuit may be a legal matter, but it may also have a brunt of your life and will affect you personally. Undeniably, almost every lawsuit attaches emotional elements, not only to the counsel but most especially to litigant parties. The longer a lawsuit meanders onward, the greater the toll it takes on one’s personal life. One lawyer says that “a sometimes-overlooked benefit of an amicable settlement--but nonetheless an important one--is that a negotiated resolution restores a sense of balance to your personal life. It also allows the preservation of the good relations between the two parties since amicable settlement is based on the intention of the parties to resolve their disputes in cooperation.”
There may be a lot of reasons still left construed, but that’s how I see amicable settlement in its laudable purpose. And as I have learned throughout this study, it’s not about the bulk of cases you’ve lost but rather the number of cases you’ve settled before taking the recourse of trial.
On the other hand, being able to resolve disputable matters in an amicable settlement also separates good lawyers from the bad ones.
One article says that one of the best gauges of a good lawyer is not that he has many cases, but that he knows how to settle a case before he saves his client from a lot of trouble. While a bad lawyer is one whose cases always ends up in trial. He has many cases and he does not have time anymore to study each cases. So he ends up inefficient.
True, indeed, that others bog down in the procedural trenches and that is often intentional. Why? Well, some lawyers don’t do anything but the trial. Maybe they are accustomed of doing that. Or perhaps, some think that the idea of practicing law is in there, while some treat it as a training ground honing them to become the best they know. But the worst is, they know that prolonged litigation leads to considerable expense, which translates into fees for lawyers.
Abraham Lincoln, who was once a lawyer and became one of the best presidents of the United States, gave an advice to lawyers: “Discourage litigation. Persuade your neighbors to compromise whenever you can. Point out to them how the nominal winner is often a real loser in fees, expenses and waste of time. As a peacemaker, the lawyer has a superior opportunity of being a good man there will still be business enough.” Meaning if you are a lawyer, you have a strong influence to convince your client to settle problem with his opponent. You do not have to worry about losing fees for there are still cases to come. Even if you will come out the winner in the case, you are still the loser in terms of waste of time, money and effort.
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