Michael J. DeRienzo, Esq.
Settlement Counsel. Mediator. Attorney.
What is a Settlement Counsel?
If you have just been sued or you've been injured, litigation can seem like the only option to seek retribution. But are you ready to pay years of litigation fees for a trial that only has a 2% chance of ever happening?
When you hire a litigation attorney, their duty is to prepare your case as if it will go to trial. They must always be thinking about the ways to win your case.
However, an attorney hired as Settlement Counsel has a different goal. Whether they become involved before a lawsuit is filed or on the eve of trial, a Settlement Counsel's duty is to help negotiate a settlement. Parties come together and reach a resolution, usually in far less time and at a far lower cost than through traditional litigation.
Is Settlement Counsel Necessary?
If you're "at war," do you want your General thinking in the back of their mind about ways to broker a peace treaty? No; you want the General ready to win battle.
Litigation attorneys have to focus their time and attention preparing to win a war, just like a General would. This mindset can potentially be very helpful when a case does go to trial, but for the 98% of cases that don't, it is far more advantageous to hire an attorney specially trained to help reach a resolution before an exorbitant amount of a client's resources have been exhausted on legal fees.
The reality is that most cases will settle. The ones that don't are often stuck in litigation for years, which means that you cannot properly move on with your life and put the issue behind you.
Let your litigation team be your General in battle. Let your Settlement Counsel attempt to negotiate peace so you can get on with your life.
Why Use Settlement Counsel?
Many people aren't aware that about 98% of all cases never see trial.
Despite this statistic, a litigation attorney must always assume that their client's case will go to trial.
If you file a case today, the odds are that it will take at least 18 months to reach trial, if it ever does. Then, in the best case scenario that you win, you likely face at least another year of appeals. Assuming that you win those appeals, there is no guarantee that you will ever be paid.
Litigators cannot be distracted by the back-and-forth negotiations of settlement discussions when preparing for a trial. That is why firms use Settlement Counsel: an outside party separate from the litigation team. This separation in roles allows your litigation team to prepare to win a trial while Settlement Counsel simultaneously prepares for the much more likely scenario that your case will end in settlement.
When Is The Right Time to Hire a Settlement Counsel?
Sometimes, Settlement Counsel is hired directly by a client right at the outset in an attempt to settle the case immediately. Other times, Settlement Counsel is hired at some point during the litigation process, which can involve seemingly endless discovery motions, hearings, and appeals. Because your litigation attorney must constantly worry about these motions, hearings, and appeals, it leaves them little to no time to simultaneously work on the potential for settlement. The sooner you obtain Settlement Counsel, the sooner you can reach a resolution in your case and move forward in your life.
What Is The Cost?
While we purposefully remain separate from your current litigation counsel, we work with you and your counsel to come up with reasonable solutions so that you are not paying double the legal fees.
One of the primary benefits of obtaining Settlement Counsel is that you can plan to pay less to reach a desirable resolution.