Our firm also employs the use of settlement counsel on matters of significance. Settlement counsel is an outside lawyer whose sole purpose and role is to facilitate an out-of-court resolution of a dispute. Occasionally, we serve as settlement counsel to others. Experience has shown that our role as an advocate is enhanced by limiting ourselves to a prosecutorial role. By carving out the negotiation function either to a lawyer outside our firm or a designated senior lawyer within the firm, who is skilled in conciliation, and whose job it is to cultivate settlement options and maintain an open dialogue, we optimize our clients’ settlement prospects and maximize the opportunities for resolution. All too often, parties suffer from what we call the “first-overture dilemma,” where, even though a settlement or business resolution is in both parties’ best interest, neither side is willing to initiate the negotiations for fear that taking the first step will be viewed as a sign of weakness.
The employment of settlement counsel facilitates resolution in a favorable range when the time is ripe, and this tactic also helps identify cases that will simply have to be tried. As settlement discussions evolve, if it becomes clear that a trial will be necessary, we as trial counsel remain focused on preparing and trying the case without distraction. This approach enhances our effectiveness as trial lawyers, particularly in the heat of the battle, and sends the appropriate signal to the opposing side that our efforts as trial counsel are dedicated to litigating the matter aggressively and proficiently while others attend to potential settlement scenarios.
Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.