1. The bar exam is too easy(1). Bad lawyering is probably the number one reason why litigation takes so long and costs so much. Bad lawyers don’t recognize weak cases; instead, they waste everyone’s time and money without changing the outcome.
2. The 11th Commandment of the Commercial Lawyer is “Thou shalt settle every case, because it’s only money(2).” Years ago, I knew a Municipal Court tip staff who would always open court with a speech: “[n]ow is your chance to go into the hall and resolve your case among yourselves. You can do a better job than the court can. And if you can’t work it out and yourcase is tried, you may not be happy with the outcome – even if you win.” These were the words of a very smart man. Good lawyers can make this easy. Bad lawyers can make this impossible.
3. Pick your spots. Not every dispute is worth a lawsuit, no matter how right you think you are. Often, once you are in, you can’t get out without your opponent’s consent – which may not be readily forthcoming. Then, the floodgates are wide open. It costs a bare minimum of $20,000.00 to take a case to trial, and often much, much more. Don’t start a suit that you don’t intend to pursue to completion; in other words, bringing suit primarily to “put pressure” on your opponent usually doesn’t work.
(1) Credit my wife with this observation; she’s not a lawyer, but she’s absolutely right.
(2) Credit for this one goes to a colleague, who is both older than I am, and wiser, too.