I’m Jeff Regan, the managing partner of Regan Atwood. We’re located in Jacksonville, Florida, with offices in Orlando, Florida.
What is the Real Cost of Litigation?
I’m going to answer the question I’m most frequently asked by clients: What is the real cost of litigation? The cost of trials altogether, I think, is the question most clients are interested in hearing.
Litigation, of course, is an expensive endeavor. It costs a lot of money. You’re paying your lawyers by the hour and it’s a complicated process. We go through the discovery process, depositions, documents being produced, working it up to trial, and a lot of clients, at least those that are new to the process, don’t realize how time consuming it is. It’s extremely stressful.
A Hidden Cost: Time
We’re the lawyers here to help you with that stress, but clients don’t often realize that they’re going to be under tremendous pressures of their own in going through the litigation process.
One of the biggest hidden costs of litigation is the client’s time. While we can help them through it and relieve them of a lot of the stress in that process, the client often has to spend enormous amounts of time gathering together documents, reading old emails, reading contracts, going back through what their recollection was, so that they can keep that fresh in their mind for testimony.
Lost Time is Lost Money
All of that time commitment takes the client away from what they do to make a living. In other words, it takes them away from their business, from what their practice, from what their livelihood is. In doing that, it can cost them a tremendous amount of productivity. Lost time means lost money. That’s how it works. In the litigation we do, for example, clients that certainly understand that or some of the construction contractors. They understand if a project takes some six months longer than planned, their general conditions on that project now extend six months longer.
Well, what if you take them away for paying attention to their product, their projects, and that time away makes them at fault for causing the delays? Not only do they incur extended general conditions, but they may find themselves liable for delay damages to their developer clients.
Learning a Client’s Goals
There are a lot of hidden costs in litigation. But what we’d like to do is to go into the client’s business, get to know that business, get to know them, get to know their goals, what they’re trying to achieve that year, what do they have on the plate that is coming up.
Then, through understanding that aspect, as well as our great depth of knowledge and experience in the practice of law, we learn to approach the case in a way that attempts to make it as efficient as possible for the client, not just as efficient in terms of what they pay us, but inefficiency in terms of their time, and the goals that they’re trying to accomplish.