Thursday, July 26, 2018

An attorney actually losing a case is the exception that proves the rule.

Today, I saw someone claim that a lawyer who wins all their cases is a criminal. That just isn't true and shows a lack of understanding of how lawyers actually operate.

We settle something like 90%, or more, of our cases. Many of the others go to court unopposed, because whomever is being sued by the lawyer in question has no real case. Going to court is expensive, and we prefer to only do it when we feel assured we have already won. Even then, it is a bet and depends on the judge on the day.

Lawyers who never lose tend to be lawyers who, besides preparing very well, and getting a thorough brief from client, as all lawyers tend to, also have a good feel for risk. Again, I am largely describing most lawyers.

The idea that all we do is pitch up in court and argue is not founded in fact. We negotiate. We debate. We slowly move towards trial, and if things are going a certain way in trial, or pre-trial, or at any stage, you often even see a settlement then.

The primary thing a lawyer does is leverage law. We only actually bite when we have to, and lawyers tend to have a sixth sense for a bad case and not bring it to court.

The only lawyers who lose a lot are lawyers who are very often in court, and that is simply because they are there so often, and even then it tends to be a rare event. Just as you might be able to predict the next minute in your favourite television show, lawyers tend to think several steps ahead. If we attack or defend it is because we have a foot to stand on.

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