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How to effectively manage settlement conferences

In a prior post, we talked about the benefits and protections that can come with a "litigation shelter." Basically, it is a fund dedicated to answering and fending off extortion attempts masked as lawsuits, where the putative plaintiffs know (or have a good idea) that you will settle just to make the suit go away.

Part of disposing of troublesome lawsuits involves preparing for and attending a settlement conference. These meetings, commonly set up by the court, are attempts to get to the heart of an issue so that it can be resolved without protracted litigation. With that said, this post will provide some helpful tips so that your next settlement conference may be successful.

Leave your emotions at the door - If you feel like you have done nothing wrong and are being exploited, you are not alone. In fact, you may have a legitimate gripe about being hauled into court over something trivial. Nevertheless, a settlement conference is not a place to let your emotions control your decisions as they will be unhelpful in reaching a settlement.

Understand your attorney's role - In a settlement conference, your lawyer may not be the bulldog litigator you hired him or her for. Instead, your attorney will be more of an advisor, since the final decision on settlement will be yours.

Know your nuisance calculation - In essence, you should be wary of how much the cost of continued litigation may be compared with the cost of being "right" when (and if) a judge has to make a ruling. More importantly, you should be comfortable with the calculation as you consider the effect on your bottom line.

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