Legal Costs and Alternatives to Litigation
Before proceeding with litigation, it is wise to consider what might arise and consider options that could avoid unforeseeable costs. Here is a list of what might cause an increase in the cost of litigation:
- How quickly a case is resolved. The length of time you spend in the lawsuit is often related to the overall cost.
- Travel time. In a Denton County case, being less than one mile from the courthouse minimizes our travel time.
- Hourly rates. You also need to consider the hourly rates of the attorney you are considering hiring. Hourly rates vary widely, but sometimes attorneys at a lower hourly rate end up spending more time in a case, resulting in a higher final bill than a more efficient attorney.
- Will the other side exercise good judgment? One of the critical factors in a lawsuit is the extent to which common sense and good judgment are exercised by both sides. If the other side chooses to be arbitrary and capricious, dealing with the other side can become difficult and expensive.
Considering all the factors that can cause your case to veer unexpectedly, you should be aware of alternative methods for resolving legal disputes:
Settling Out of Court – Oftentimes, civil suits are settled before they get to trial. Here, the parties negotiate in hopes of avoiding going before a judge. Parties can not only save money but can also have a more decisive role in the final outcome. This can happen through:
- “Kitchen-table” discussions – the parties sit down alone together and negotiate agreement. This tends to work very well when it works, but go very poorly when it does not work.
- Settlement letters – The lawyers send letters back and forth regarding settlement, until one is negotiated or it is apparent one cannot be reached.
- Settlement conference – the parties and lawyers get together and work to negotiate a settlement.
A settlement process designed to be conducted in one session on one day. Each party is in a different room with his or her attorney, and a mediator moves back and forth between the rooms, negotiating settlement. The process is confidential, and once an agreement is signed, the agreement is binding, although final documents still have to be prepared.
Collaborative Law & Divorce –
A settlement process designed to keep parties out of court and to be conducted in several short sessions over time. The parties, their attorneys, and any neutral professionals hired meet in a combination of joint and “offline” sessions to gather information, identify issues, create options, and negotiate an agreement. Binding agreements can be signed in the process, although most usually, there is not such an agreement prepared – rather, final documents are prepared and signed by all without that step.
This is not a “settlement” process, but rather a speedier and possibly more cost-effective path to a litigated decision. Parties and their attorneys appear on a mutually agreed day in front of an arbitrator (hired judge), who hears the evidence and issues a ruling deciding the issues in the case.