Pretty much nobody wants to go to court. At Anderson Adams, whether you’re being sued or you need to sue somebody, we try hard to resolve matters through alternate dispute resolution techniques: negotiation, mediation, collaboration, arbitration.
But those alternate dispute resolution approaches can be pretty stressful too. And they are all “voluntary”. Which means that if the other side won’t agree to dispute resolution, the matter will be in court.
You’re worried about what it will cost. You’re worried about how long it will take. You’re worried about what the result will be. You’re worried about the possibility of having to pay the other side’s costs if you lose.
And – unless this really is an arm’s length commercial dispute – you’re probably worried about what the litigation will do to ongoing relationships you have with the persons on the other side. Even in purely commercial matters, what the litigation could do to your business reputation. Above all, in the case of matrimonial law or estate law matters, you’re worried about what a court battle might do to rupture cherished family relationships.
Most litigation matters involve a hot mess of intersecting legal, financial and emotional issues. Lawyers handle the legal part. Depending upon the complexity of the matter, you may very well need expert advice on financial and tax issues. And in many instances when emotions run high, it absolutely makes sense to consider getting the support you deserve with those issues too.
We can offer referrals for counseling as needed and we’re happy to do so. Because we understand: when you’re really overwhelmed with the emotional issues it’s very hard to “hear” legal advice and to get the full value of the advice you’re paying for. And that will make it very hard for you to give your lawyer legal instructions. Which means even just on a cost/benefit analysis, getting emotional support from a therapist can an excellent investment, since typically it’s quite a bit less costly than a lawyer’s hourly rate.
At some point, many clients will tell us that they “just want it to be over”. And we understand that too. Making an offer to settle is standard in a litigation matter. But we don’t want you to instruct us to accept an improvident settlement (either paying out more than you should or accepting less than you should) just because you want it to be over. When we expect you will suffer “buyer’s remorse” a few months later. And the hard truth is that some matters just won’t settle: particularly when there is a high conflict personality on the other side.
Whether or not you decide to seek out support through counseling, what steps can you yourself take to live through litigation? Yes, what your mother always told you. Eating right: maxing out optimum nutrition to nurture yourself. Getting enough sleep. And getting enough exercise. All the scientific research indicates that the release of endorphins from exercise is powerful in combating situational anxiety and depression. Especially exercise outside. Even relatively mild exercise: just a brisk walk helps. Maybe with a friend for "social connection". Talking about anything you can think of other than your worries and woes! (Save that for your therapist if you decide to work with one.)
These techniques of basic self-care are something we take very seriously ourselves. We use them ourselves, just to get through the litigation matters we deal with daily. Because eventually, your matter will be resolved and you’ll be done. But we never have the luxury of dealing with just one crisis on behalf of just one client – and when we close your file, there are always more in the queue.
OK, we don’t want you to feel sorry for us. We love what we do and we’re happy to help with your litigation problems, even when they get pretty intense. And we can love it because we do take care of ourselves.
So if you’re facing a lawsuit, maybe you’d like to think more about how to live through litigation? One very helpful general stress-management resource on the web is offered by Toronto physician Dr. Mike Evans. He has a whole series of short clips, but you might like to start with his amusing and low-key presentation: “What can you do to get through a crap week?”:
Dr. Mike's "meds" are marvellous! Take one in the morning and repeat as necessary!
If you bring your litigation matter to Anderson Adams, we’ll do our best for you on the legal issues. Without losing sight of those financial and emotional factors we know you’re also dealing with, outside our office or the court room. Because we understand: it’s never easy living through litigation.
Thank you for your interest in our Anderson Adams blogs. Each of our blogs is the property of Anderson Adams. Please feel free to display the content, download or print pages as you may wish, provided always: that you credit our ownership of the blog; that you do not alter the content in any manner without our prior written consent; and that you use the content only for educational, non-commercial or personal purposes. We cannot and do not consent to redistribution, broadcast or copying of our blogs in any manner by any media without our prior written consent.
Anderson Adams blogs are offered only for the purposes of general information. The law changes over time within our own legal jurisdiction of Ontario, Canada and the content of our blogs may have no applicability to different legal jurisdictions. Anderson Adams cannot and does not warrant or guarantee content of any of our blogs for any particular purpose. Our Anderson Adams blogs do not constitute legal advice or a legal opinion on any subject matter whatsoever and they do not create a solicitor and client relationship.
Anderson Adams is always pleased to note the high readership of the blogs on our website and we hope that you have found this blog interesting. If you have a particular legal problem, then you deserve legal advice and a legal opinion specifically related to your particular circumstances. Please make an appointment with a legal professional in your jurisdiction. If Anderson Adams can help you, we invite you to contact our firm by telephone, 705 436-1701, and book an appointment. One of our clerks will take down a detailed note over the phone so that we can be ready to address your concerns when we meet with you.