Two Things That Courts (Unfortunately) Have Little Regard For
I’ve been in court the last couple mornings. In both instances my matter took less than 2 minutes of the Court’s time. I, however, waited through about an hour long “docket call” for those 2 minutes. With regard to one of those court appearances, at the Court’s request I had filed a motion in an old case for the return of funds deposited with the Court for a restraining order bond. Let’s conservatively say the motion and accompanying documents took half an hour to draft and the appearance itself took 1 ½ hours, for a total of 2 hours. My current billable rate is $185 an hour. So the costs associated with the motion were $370 (2 x $185). But the restraining order bond coming back to my client was only $250. Do the math…
Now my lawyer friends will quickly chime in at this point and say, “well those costs are really just costs associated with getting the restraining order in the first place.” Certainly this is true, but if you’re the client paying for it, it still just doesn’t feel right.
This is not at all uncommon. Rather, it’s the rule, not the exception.
There are two things the courts have little regard for: time and money. In litigation, courts typically have little regard for (1) how long a case takes, and (2) how much money it costs the parties to prosecute or defend the case. The problem is that these two things, time and money, are typically what clients value most.
Now, with that said, I certainly recognize that courts are a necessary evil. And I recognize that even despite these imperfections in our judicial system, that we Americans have one of, if not, the best legal system in the world. I am in court all the time. I’ve seen good, bad and ugly. I have had wins and I have had losses. What I am shedding light on here is not so much the problem of the system, but rather the difference in perspective between courts and the people like you and me who call on the courts to adjudicate a case or controversy. Business people, who we most often represent, are primarily interested in profit: revenue minus expenses. They think on these terms. Courts, however, do not. Courts are primarily interested in reaching decisions that follow the law. If reaching a decision takes 3 years or 3 days, then that’s how long it takes. If reaching a decision requires the parties to spend $100,000 or $1,000, then so be it.
It’s important for parties to a dispute to weigh their options carefully, and to be aware that a Court’s perspective will be much different from theirs. At The Waterford Law Group we strive to educate and inform you of your options. Some disputes can be resolved informally. Some require litigation. Regardless, we will help you explore and exploit your options so that you can make informed and confident decisions about a given course of action.