The GRIFFITH LAW GROUP LLC recently rejected a client representation, because we could not deliver a cost-effective result for the potential client. The potential client (We will call him John in this article.) had a dispute with a neighbor over a very small strip of land, three inches to be precise. John was very angry that his neighbor was trying to take his land by erecting a fence three inches over the property line. John’s neighbor even pulled out stakes placed in the yard, when John had a staked survey completed.
Could we have sued John’s neighbor and won the lawsuit for John?
Yes, John has a good claim. However, the attorneys’ fees that John would pay our firm to win that lawsuit exceed the value of the disputed land many, many times over. In the end, we could not justify the costs of the lawsuit contrasted with the benefits to John, and we politely declined John’s request for legal representation.
Many clients come to us angry and highly motivated to sue, but that is not where our analysis as attorneys ends. Client motivation to pursue remedies is important, but it is rarely advisable for a client to sue for blood, when the attorney knows the client will eventually have to settle for money. That same approach should be considered whenever a lawyer is advising a client on a legal matter. That is true for contract drafting, the formation of a limited liability entity or nearly any other legal representation or matter. We encourage our clients to engage us in cost-benefit analysis and discussions about our service offerings and the client’s options. Often, there is a more cost-effective alternative, but that requires an active and open discussion between attorney and client.