THREE PARTS TO
EVERY GOOD CASE
It is too easy to see
the indisputable liability and certain damages and forget the collectability.
As lawyers, we are constantly battling to win the first level ? the liability.
We train our focus on the jury says answering ?YES? to the liability questions
and eagerly awaiting the answers to ?How Much?.
You work equally hard to
establish that a jury will give you all of the damages your client deserves
along with your reasonable and necessary attorneys? fees. But none of this
matters if you can?t collect the judgment. You have to be able to make the case
pay or all of your work is for naught.
So before you jump on the
case with easy liability and the certain damages, give strong consideration to
whether you will ever collect a penny of it. Clients almost always focus on the
wrong that was done them (liability) and the amount it is going to cost them (
damages). They almost never consider collectability or they give it short
shrift and see only a rose colored outcome. Clients will assume a bad actor
also has plenty of means to pay a judgment which is clearly not true.
A thorough and frank discussion with the clients
up front and from the start about whether ANY money will ever come out of their
case does two very important things. First, It establishes that their case is
not the ?sure thing? they imagine it to be and second, it opens the door for
you to require an hourly fee or payment of some kind to balance your risk in
In a case with suspect collectability, you can
require an initial retainer which assures that you made some sort of fee even
if later, the claim is not collectable.