As a 25 year litigator, Sean Erenstoft met hundreds of people who came into his office looking to right a wrong. Litigation was the usual prescription and so it goes, he received hefty retainers to afford the filing of a complaint and the accumulation of discovery. Each month, another invoice would follow with very little to show for it. Indeed, the slow progress of litigation places an incredible burden on attorneys who must deftly explain that the litigation takes time. . . lots of time. And, of course, as the saying goes: “Time is money.”
Erenstoft notes that at some point, a clients’ ire for their opponent turns to the attorney who is now seen as the heathen stealing all their money and has little (practical) progress to show. Indeed, most attorneys don’t take a serious effort at trying to resolve litigation until their clients cry “uncle” and begin to question the exorbitant fees they’ve paid. In a recent interview, Sean Erenstoft quipped: “Sometimes, I think attorneys have an inherent conflict-of-interests when they encourage litigation without first pressing the other side for mediation or binding arbitration.”
At least with mediation or arbitration do the parties take control over the process of coming to a resolution. Erenstoft observes, “the courts are jam-packed and ill-equipped to provide the kind of attention that our clients demand.” “The prep-work judges require before attorneys are allowed to stand before a jury is astonishing as the courts have figured out ways of squeezing litigants out of the system by raising the price of admission.”
Litigation is very much a rich-man’s sport — so when you’re tired of litigating, mediate. Last year, Sean Erenstoft launched a thriving mediation/arbitration service in Los Angeles and encourages attorneys to discuss ADR with their clients before the tension of prolonged litigation tears at the fabric of the attorney-client relationship. Visit www.eMediatorPages.com for more information about mediation and arbitration.