Why clients should be prepared for trial (even if they don’t really want one)

Nobody wants to go to trial.

Ok, that’s a little bit of an exaggeration. There are some people who  are eager to get their day in court and aren’t afraid of a courtroom.

For the vast majority, the mere thought of a trial is enough to cause shivers. It doesn’t matter the type of case. It could be a divorce, a speeding case, or a murder trial. You could be the plaintiff or defendant, victim or person on trial. No matter your role, who wants a group of complete strangers judging you? Especially if you testify and a lawyer questions you. (Keep in mind, though, that in a criminal case nobody can force you to testify if you won’t want to. In civil cases sometimes you can be forced to testify).

Here’s the thing. Most cases don’t go to trial. But some do and it’s usually because the other side won’t be reasonable and won’t make a fair deal.

While most of our clients understandably tell us they don’t want a trial, they all have important goals for settlement. That’s why they hired us.

If you get in the mindset that you won’t go to trial, it will show. You won’t do what it takes to prepare, mentally or otherwise. The other side will be able to tell. And then they won’t have any good reason to make a fair deal. They might take advantage.

Our Approach

Some lawyers, when they hear a client say she doesn’t want to go to trial, don’t feel that they need to prepare as much because they figure what’s the point? Why prepare for a trial if the client doesn’t want one?

That’s not our approach. We know that in some cases, going to trial is the only  way to fight for our client’s rights.  So we are always thinking about trial, even when our client says they don’t want one.

And believe it or not, this attitude can actually sometimes avoid a trial because it helps get a settlement that the client wants.

Preparation is Key

More importantly, if we have this attitude from the beginning, we help our clients develop a more positive attitude. Trial will always seem scary but we want to develop our clients’ confidence that they can do it if necessary. We will help them every step of the way to get ready for one of the biggest days of their life.

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