John Gomez Who Decides

Lots of times when we meet new clients they want to know who decides when to settle and when to go to trial. I tell them, “You do.” They sometimes seem surprised by that response but it’s true. Our job is to maximize the value of their case – either for settlement or trial, and to provide our advice – but in the end, it’s the client’s choice alone.

We obviously are known for being aggressive trial lawyers. If, in the end, the client wants to go to trial, we gladly will try the case for them. Does that mean we recommend trying the case each and every time? No. There are times when the defendant offers reasonable money and the risk, added costs and potential delay of trial all point toward settlement as the best option. When that happens, we recommend settlement. Having now settled literally thousands of cases, we also have an ability to maximize that settlement once the decision to settle has been made.

Lots of times when we meet new clients they want to know who decides when to settle and when to go to trial. I tell them, “You do.”

Other factors may influence our advice. If we are representing a child with permanent medical needs, for example, we need to seriously consider any reasonable settlement offer that meets those needs. If going through a trial – and especially losing a trial – will cause considerable emotional harm to a family – we take that into account. Sometimes, on the other hand, a family or client may “need” a trial to tell their story or begin the process of healing. If that is the case, we gladly will try the case for them. In the end, some clients want to try their case; some want to settle; and some allow us to make the choice for them.

The bottom line is that we never force our clients to either try or settle a case. We maximize value, provide advice and good options. We understand that the case, in the end, is theirs and theirs alone. And so, who really decides? If you are a client of our law firm, you do.


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