Lincoln’s advice to fellow attorneys – Discourage litigation

I previously used the publicly visible costs of a charity’s legal dispute to urge you to Please Try to Stay Out of CourtThe costs in dollars and time can be high.

This advice is not anything new.

Turns out Abraham Lincoln gave that same advice to young attorneys.  He said

 “Persuade your neighbors to compromise whenever you can. Point out to them how the nominal winner is often a real loser— in fees, expenses, and waste of time.”

That quote is from Allen Guelzo in Fateful Lightning: A New History of the Civil War and Reconstruction (p. 101. Oxford University Press. Kindle Edition.)

Even 160 years ago going to court was expensive.

Lincoln would also counsel clients whose case was on shaky grounds that

“You are in the wrong of the case and I would advise you to compromise, or if you cannot do that, do not bring a suit on the facts of your case because you are in the wrong and surely [be] defeated and have to pay a big bill of costs.”

Prof. Guelzo in turn credited the comment(s) to Lincoln, “Fragment: Notes for a Law Lecture,” July 1, 1850, in Collected Works, 2: 81.

No person ever has a case that is as strong as that person believes it to be.

Again, please try to stay out of court. Even if you win a legal judgment you will most likely lose the economic case. 

Take it from Honest Abe.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: