The offer on the table was a good one, but the attorney thought there was hope for something better. Then I took the attorney through the “what if’s.”
How much will it cost to bring this case to trial? What about experts’ fees? I asked the attorney to create two financial statements, one that showed the net financial result now versus the likely result after more litigation. Viewed in the most favorable light, more litigation produced the same financial benefit in the end. And if the result was not so favorable, prolonging the stress and financial outlay would have a negative financial result.
It costs money to run a law office. In a contingent fee practice, there is a lot of outgo before the reward comes in. When an attorney’s resources are at capacity, the choice is to turn away business or expand staff and space, thereby increasing the cost of running the office.
I asked the lawyer what his hourly fee would be if he kept litigating. “I’m on contingency. It’s the same.” “No,” I explained, “when your fee is contingent, the longer you work, the lower your hourly rate.”
For what appeared to be an ego-driven motive, not only was this attorney determined to keep fighting the client’s case for no foreseeable financial benefit, he was undermining his own financial stake in the matter.
Part of my job as mediator is helping parties, adjusters, and their lawyers see the full range of issues and possible results.