Tuesday, May 15, 2012

After Settling Case, Client Has Second Thoughts

  A former client called me because she had settled a claim at mediation through another lawyer and was having second thoughts.  Her settlement had come after a long day of stress at the end of which the defense insisted that she sign a document agreeing to the settlement.  Her concern was that she had been pressured into agreeing to an unfair settlement.

   We talked about both the strengths and weaknesses of her case, the total amount of the settlement and the other important factors.  At the end, while one always hopes for a greater recovery, the client came to the conclusion that the settlement was fair under the circumstances.

    I did tell her that she had 2 unattractive options.  While the client could refuse to complete her settlement, the other side had the ability to enforce the agreement she signed and likely recover the legal fees required to do so, thereby reducing the settlement.  The second option is to terminate her professional relationship with her lawyer in which the lawyer would have a lien for the fee related to the agreed-upon recovery.  

   The more important lesson is that clients should understand the strengths and weaknesses of their case before attending a mediation so that they do not feel pressured to settle their claim.  You have to play your hand smartly.  See http://www.junelawyer.com/