At the beginning of litigation and selection of the law firm that will handle the case, the in-house lawyer must assess the case—the strengths, weaknesses, costs, etc., involved. Case evaluation is very important. Evaluation can be made through an early evaluation by outside counsel, knowledge of potential costs, use of employee interviews, and formulation of a plan/budget. When a company has a good idea of the chances of winning, as well as the potential costs, it is in a better position to determine whether to proceed to trial. Therefore, at the beginning of litigation, the company or organization should obtain a thorough evaluation of the case and use internal risk management tools to assess the cost of a trial. Is the cost of litigation worth it?
Risk analysis of litigation can be a useful tool in evaluating a case. One such tool that is often utilized is the decision tree. A decision tree analysis can be used to evaluate the probability of outcome of certain events during trial. Each event can then be analyzed in the context of the probability of the entire outcome. A decision tree risk analysis provides a systematic method of analyzing cases from the beginning
Besides the use of a decision tree, a properly formatted litigation budget should address the fees and costs of going to trial. Using a budget helps to establish a realistic framework for litigation as it should cover expected fees and costs. Remember however, a law firm’s fees at trial could skyrocket for a number of reasons, including:
-The number of lawyers involved.
-Time: Most trial lawyers will work long hours during a trial, so fees will add up.
This especially true if the trial is a complex one involving patent disputes or
Competition/ Anti-trust claims.
-The cost of expert witnesses.