Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Tyranny of Small Dollars

A friend of mine put it very well in the above phrase when there are sizable dollar swings boding a severe, perhaps unmanageable, economic impact on a party to an unclear action and an unhappy but finanically viable resolution is at hand. Unhappiness may be bred by an offended sense of principle, the prospect of paying something or not being paid enough, especially in that gray zone defying rational analysis of prospects for success as against a rough justice resolution. My presumption subject to instructions and absent aberrant circumstances is to counsel such unhappy resolution and let practicality trump principle. I would not bludgeon anyone with that counsel though I would be firm and blunt about it, even if it meant us blinking first. And, such counsel not heeded, I would get carefully written instructions outlining my advice, the risks and potential downside and upside including liability for costs. I'd pepper my counsel with a few stories of clients thanking me for getting them out from under in such circumstances to try to give some perspective of what healing time can do rather than living under the shadow of litigation for the next year or more, not counting appeals. Finally, of course, it is not my decision, but I see my counsel as an instance of the adage that a good compromise makes no one happy.

But that's just me.

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