Let’s face it, lawyers are easy to hate – especially trial lawyers.  Nobody wants to be dragged into court to fight about an issue.  Nobody wants to pay an attorney for every six-minute increment that he spends arguing with the other side.  In the past, I have written some blog posts on what litigation is.

That begs the question, why is litigation important?

I am reminded of a short comic strip I have seen passed around on social media a few times.  It pictures a genie, who will grant three wishes to an unsuspecting person.  That person must not like lawyers very much, because for his first wish he wishes for there to be no more lawyers in the world.  *Poof,* the genie grants his wish.  The genie then starts to leave.  When the person asks about his remaining two wishes, the genie just says “sue me,” and leaves.  As illustrated, lawyers can (surprisingly) often serve a useful purpose. 

Below are four ways in which litigation can be useful.

(1) Removes Emotion

Litigation allows people to settle disputes that they have been unable to on their own.  A lot of the time, the parties involved in a disagreement are so emotionally invested in the argument that it is hard for them to look at it clearly.  Neither side wants to budge because they feel wronged. 

By introducing an attorney into the mix, it can take the emotion out of the dispute.  Attorneys on both sides of an issue can talk calmly and civilly about the dispute and attempt to get the other side to see reason.  It allows the parties to take a step back and get another person’s perspective.

(2) Impartiality

When people become entrenched in a particular point of view, it is difficult to take a step back to a neutral position and evaluate the situation.  In such a case, engaging in litigation ultimately puts the decision in the impartial hands of a judge or jury.  The judge or jury don’t have anything to gain by one or the other party being right.  They can look at all the evidence from a truly neutral position and help to determine what really happened or who really wronged who.

(3) Gives Finality

Unlike when two individuals say they agree on something, and then one person later changes their mind, litigation offers finality.  While it may often take quite some time to get there, litigation always ends up with a final outcome.  Whether there is a decision from a judge or jury or a settlement between the parties, at the end of the day there is a final decision that is either made or agreed to.  That finality sometimes does not come until after an appeal to the state’s Supreme Court, but the finality always does come.

(4) Enforceability

As in the genie example, litigation is the way to enforce promises (contracts) that have been made.  After a decision has been agreed to or a judgment obtained via litigation, there are legal mechanisms for enforcing it.  For example, if it is determined that one person owes another, the winning party can likely garnish a portion out of each paycheck the other person receives.  Or, the winner can force the loser to relinquish or sell certain assets to pay towards the debt.  Those, and other, options are not available without going through the litigation process.

If you have a dispute with another person and need help resolving it, call the experienced litigators at Goosmann Law Firm, PLC, in our Omaha, Sioux City, and Sioux Falls offices.


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