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I was driving through Carmel, Indiana on Thanksgiving day the first time I saw this street sign – driving to a Thanksgiving dinner. I thought to myself, “How the heck do I navigate these roundabouts?”
The sign made absolutely no sense – my destination was straight ahead but completely obscured by the series of circular paths that I would have to navigate to go straight.
If that sounds absurd – it sure felt that way to me. I’m sure there is a good road engineering rationale for the roundabouts but to me it was a driving maze that was complicated and unnecessary.
I am certain that the process of litigation that ends in either a trial or settlement feels like an unending series of senseless roundabouts.
Every roundabout takes time and costs money.
In the end, the course toward resolution is a straight line obscured by circular motion.
Dizzy yet? I am.
Here is the worst part, sometimes the roundabouts are necessary to build the foundation of resolution and sometimes they are not. Many times the value of the roundabout can only be determined after it has been traveled.
Don’t let that cause you to throw up your hands and quit. Or fall into the trap of complaining about the system – neither produces satisfying results – often the opposite is true.
My advice is simple. The task is to find the most efficient and cost effective path to a straight line.
Sometimes that means choosing a course other than litigation.
Sometimes that means choosing mediation before litigation.
Sometimes you just have to buckle up and ride through the seemingly endless series of roundabouts.
One thing is certain whatever path is chosen. Choose a lawyer you trust. A lawyer that listens to your needs and provides advice that enhances your ability to meet your goals.
The best lawyers are not the ones who direct your course based upon what they think the best position is. Rather, the best lawyers, listen and then act. They are a player on your team not the owner of the team.
You always have some control, no matter what stage of litigation you are in. Sometimes your modicum of control is limited by choices made earlier in the dispute process. Sometimes control is limited by the sytem itself.
Find a lawyer who encourages you to control the outcome when you can. One who, with your best interest at heart, always seeks the straight line through the roundabouts.