This is the biggest mediation year in our law firm’s history. The milestone is significant for our clients, their adversaries and all lawyers involved in the prosecution and defense of estate, trust and elder financial abuse litigation.
Mediation is a reality in estate disputes that shouldn’t be ignored until the parties are on the courthouse steps awaiting a courtroom for trial. That said, it’s not unusual for a client to express doubts about entering into mediation. This is understandable.
Does our willingness to mediate telegraphs weakness? Good question – so, let’s look at the reality. Recent studies indicate that only about 1% of filed tort cases are actually tried in the federal courts. I’ve heard state court judges say that only about 3% of California filed civil cases actually go to trial. Whatever the number, it is small.
Knowing the settlement numbers, the choice for litigants is to recognize the reality before filing, shortly after filing, long after filing, or later on the courthouse steps. Costs increase as time goes on. Attorney’s fees may or may not increase, based on whether the plaintiff’s lawyer is on a contingency fee, hourly fee or a mix of the two.
Clients sometimes worry that they’re going to be disadvantaged by mediation. A strong mediator will often dispel this early at the mediation. The mediator will address the financial, time and emotional costs of a trial and appeal. It isn’t pretty.
One of California’s best mediators notes that in all her years as a trial judge, she never saw the parties to a trial happy. Trials can be grueling, and appeals can be taxing to one’s emotional health. That said, Hackard Law has trial lawyers, and we do go to trial.
Sometimes a defendant’s belief in her case or simple obstinacy ultimately dictate the need for a judge or jury trial to decide the case. We litigate in cases that draw some of our state’s best estate and trust lawyers. This is an advantage.
We see great lawyers. We learn from great lawyers. And we apply our experience and learning to the significant estate and trust cases that we are litigating in most of California major urban areas. These include Los Angeles, Sacramento, Santa Clara, Alameda, and San Diego.
Hackard Law is an advocate and protector of beneficiary rights, and in many cases mediation is the best path to a resolution that favors client interests. You can call us today at 916-313-3030, and we’ll be glad to see how we can best help you.