Why I have chosen to turn down most litigation

October 1, 2020

As Covid-19 continues, the Courts in Illinois have reopened. Some are zoom only, some are in-person, some are a hybrid of the two. I am immunocompromised and I have chronic migraines, which can be triggered when things are too tight around my head, pull on my ears or are stimulating the nerves that trigger migraines. This means I struggle to wear a mask, so I choose to stay where I do not have to wear one (yes, I wear a mask when I am out, despite it being a potential migraine trigger). This has forced me to make a choice as a person and an attorney: go to court and get a migraine or not go to court and offer what I can that does not require court. I have decided to turn down most litigation because I would be endangering my health.


Additionally, it is not where my passion lies. I am good at trial – thorough, organized, quick on my feet – but it is not work I especially enjoy. It requires late nights, early mornings, and, it often seems no one is happy, and I pay for it with a multiple day migraine. Having tried tons of cases in 15+ years, I know what goes into good trial preparation. I have never once tried a case where I have spent anything less than 25 hours preparing. At my hourly rate, that is the price of a decent used car. Add in the trial day, and that is the cost of a nearly-new used car. If it is a multiple day hearing, the cost is a new car.


So I focus on what I do enjoy doing, what I can do in my office, and what work does not trigger migraines. Right now, that is appellate work and uncontested divorces.


That means if you call my office, I will refer you to someone who does litigate, or, if I am willing to consider it, require a hefty deposit of 25 to 40 hours of work. I have been at this too long to believe any more that I will get payments after a case is done. My skills are good enough that I do not offer them at a discount either.


This leads to my point: I would rather help 10 families move to their new future without litigation than help 1 family litigate. I know that coming up with the cost of litigation is out of the reach of most people, but if you want a trial, the attorney gets paid first, gets paid well, and, often, requires a payment in full that may seem outrageous.


To understand how the law applies to your unique circumstances, please hire an attorney who can provide tailored legal counsel.