Money & Litigation

We have all heard the phrase “money makes the world go round.”  While one hopes that the practice of law is really about more than just money, it cannot be doubted that money plays a vital role.  Many, many cases come down to what money damages will adequately compensate an injured party.  Money affects litigation in other ways, however.

The ability to fund litigation is one way money affects litigation.  As the costs of litigation increase, clients have looked to new ways to fund or offset those costs.  This month’s issue features an article by Carol Langford on alternative financing for legal fees.  Various mechanisms have cropped up in recent years whereby folks can “invest” in litigation outcomes.  As Ms. Langford’s article demonstrates though, these investment structures can present significant risks and a minefield of potential conflicts of interest.

Kevin Rodriguez’ article “Show Me The Money” focuses on when trustees can utilize trust funds to pay for trust-related litigation.  It is a must read for any civil litigator who finds herself having to prosecute or defend litigation involving a trust, a not uncommon circumstance even for attorneys who are not trust and estate specialists.

Speaking of money, ways to achieve cost savings and efficiencies so as to help the firm’s bottom line is always a vital topic.  An article by faculty members from John F. Kennedy University’s Legal Studies Program, Juliet R. Jonas and Lisa S. Hutton, challenges firms to make broader use of their paralegals.  Not only does this help with cost containment and case management, but represents best practices and can enrich the practices of the firm’s paralegals, helping to further incorporate them as valued members of the litigation team.

A feature article by Nick Casper, and this month’s MCLE self-study, is an update on the law of CCP § 998 offers.  Making and responding to such offers is an exercise in the money valuation of claims and likelihood of success at trial.  Mr. Casper offers valuable insights on the often opaque law of  § 998 offers.

Lastly, in a world often driven by money, we should not forget those who struggle and may not have the wherewithal to pay the costs of retaining a lawyer to represent them in court.  The Pro Per Litigation clinic is highlighted in an article describing the program run by the CCCBA designed to help those representing themselves in civil litigation navigate the complex rules and procedures of court litigation.  The CCCBA encourages attorneys to consider volunteering for the program.

Enjoy the issue.

Your Guest Editor, Leonard E. Marquez