Interview with John Levine
The Irony of Technology

The Value of Strategy

Most lawyers would no doubt respond YES to the question “do you put a strategy in place for every matter?”  This strategy is always a question of degree.  Some attorneys have a strategy “Win.”  Obviously, that’s hardly a strategy.  Other attorneys dig deeper and can articulate some of the key benchmarks which they believe will take their client to victory.  The obvious ones include identifying key cases and facts which undermine the theory of liability, attacking the damages or causation elements, etc.  Still, other attorneys would dig yet deeper and make decisions concerning timing, use of procedural rules and break benchmarks down into phases.  Really good attorneys spend significant time understanding the non-legal side of the case.  Every case has practical elements to it.  Who are the personalities on the other side of the case, both the lawyer and the client?  Is there non-financial leverage which could be put in place in order to bring a benchmark to fruition?

But the best lawyers also make a commitment to the outcome of the case.  In a commercial case, they may identify the non-financial consideration of the settlement agreement as well as the exact amount they are seeking to obtain for the client.  Few lawyers put themselves out on a limb concerning deliverables.  This is a big mistake.  You never know what you can achieve if you put it down on paper at the beginning of the case and drive towards that goal each day. 

In the vast majority of my cases, we actually identify the terms of the settlement at the very beginning.  In the vast majority of these cases, we obtain those settlement terms or better for the client. 

It is no coincidence that we achieve defined goals for our clients.  Identifying the outcome based on client information gives the attorney a clear goal to achieve.  If the attorney has done a good job getting information and doing initial research, those goals will be achievable and reasonable.  Try it.  You’ll be amazed what you could accomplish. 

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