The legal system is the default mechanism to resolving problems that cannot be worked out through a vast number of other mechanisms, such as through church or family intervention, social pressures, or just walking away. Usually, the cost, unknowns, and stress compound and make this event one of life’s major stressors.
Over time we have gathered many valuable insights that may help you in any civil litigation you are involved in–to help your lawyer help you try to reach your objectives. Your reasonableness, flexibility, and understanding of the process will do the most to help you in this time of stress. Here are three tips:
First, almost every problem that results in a civil suit took a number of years to reach that point. Untangling it quickly, as much as it is desired, inherently takes a longer period of time than most litigants want. An expectation may be generated by instant access to information and answers—but most litigation does not have a clear path or answer. So when the “what if” comes to mind, think of something else. Try not to overwhelm your lawyer with status update requests, stream-of-thought calls or emails; he or she wants to help you reach your objective, but with instant, multiple means of communication your lawyer (to keep you satisfied with the representation) may be forced to spend more time communicating with you about your case than handling it.
Second, your case is the most important thing in your life in most cases, as it involves finances, children, property, or even freedom. Nevertheless, because there are so many important deadlines in life, from the start of school to a defendant’s right to a speedy criminal trial, it is usually the case the courts cannot accommodate every event or milestone in terms of a hearing to decide an issue. This would paralyze the hard-working trial judge and bring the system to gridlock. Few cases are true emergencies, not to minimize the importance. An important date or event in dispute may not get heard as you wish.
Third, recognize that the legal system is a default. An aggrieved party has the right to be heard, even under the most speculative claim. This means a case may well go on longer than you want, move slowly, or move too quickly depending on your objective and that of the other side. For instance, in a criminal case, a defendant usually wants passage of time as this benefits his/her case, but a victim wants closure. These are incompatible courses a trial court must navigate. Thus, the opposing party plays a key role in how a case unfolds and how long it takes.
The dedicated lawyers, judges, and others who work in the judicial system want you to have your day in court and present your best case. However, problems, by nature, contain issues that are hard to solve and take more time than often appears reasonable. This is a product of the litigants, not the system, so try to remember that when frustration sets in, take a deep breath, and try to make each day meaningful notwithstanding a lawsuit. And try to avoid blaming the system.
This blog post is written by attorneys at Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. It is for general educational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice or a solicitation for services. We hope it helps you or empowers you to help someone else caught up in litigation. Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. attorneys handle an array of civil and criminal cases and appeals throughout Indiana.