Yesterday at Jottings By An Employer’s Lawyer, Michael Fox praised the Employment Law Group for announcing a jury trial loss in a blog post. You may be asking yourself why would a defense lawyer announce a loss. It’s what I call smart marketing. There are two things employment plaintiff’s count on to extort a high settlement: 1) a denied summary judgment motion with a firm trial date, and 2) cold feet by a business or its lawyer to take the case to a jury. If you want to obtain a fair settlement in your next employment case, hire an attorney with a proven track record of trying cases. Before you hire the lawyer to defend your next claim, ask him or her how many cases he or she has tried to a jury, and how long ago the last jury trial was.
There are very few things in the law that take more guts than taking an employment case to trial as an employer. No one wants a jury to resolve a dispute. Knowing that your lawyer has the confidence to try your case will give you the confidence to draw a reasonable settlement line in the sand. That line might be at or near zero. You should never pay more than you think a case is worth merely to avoid a trial. Knowing your lawyer can and will try your case for you will enable you to hold that line.