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Kids fighting in a sandbox. “That’s my toy.” “You’ve played with that toy too long, it’s my turn.” “You wrecked my sand castle!” “That wasn’t a sand castle it was a pile of useless sand.” All parents have shrugged their shoulders, sighed, shook their heads and when asking their child what is the fight about heard this response – “ITTTTTTTT’s just not fair!” And in response to the question what’s not fair? – “ITTTTTTTT, can’t you see?” Or what can I do to help? – “Make ITTTTTTT fair!”

After discussing the interests and concerns of a new client who seeks to file a new lawsuit, one question is always presented – why do you want to file a lawsuit? There are many answers to that question. I have been injured and deserve to be compensated. My business partner stole from me. My intellectual property is being used without a license and/or without my permission. All of those answers are good reasons to file a lawsuit.

However, all too often the answer is “principle.” Lawsuits based upon principle really are lawsuits based upon, “I’m mad as hell and the defendant is going to pay.”

Are you an extremely wealthy person or social organization advancing a political or social issue? If not, a lawsuit based upon “principle” is spending money on stupid shit.

Social media, and the internet can better address most of the principles advanced in a forum where the person seeking to demonstrate a principle is in absolute control over content.

How can that be? Anger fades in direct relationship to the amount of money it costs to advance a principle. What happens? Client frustration. Lawyer and client conflicts over bills.

A lawsuit is easy to start. But once started, it is much harder to end.

If you still want to file a lawsuit based upon principle, think long and hard about whether the lawsuit will really provide you with any satisfaction. Calculate the money that could have been made on the time that you spend in the lawsuit and the money you spend on your lawyer and court fees. Your return on investment (ROI) will be negative. Satisfying the principle is unlikely at best.

There will still be lawsuits filed on “principle.” Before you choose that path, consult a lawyer who outline alternatives. Hire a lawyer who has viable exit strategies and who will provide fee estimates on before filing the lawsuit.

But remember – once you start a lawsuit you lose control. The court has rules – your opponent has principles too. The lawsuits will take you away from what makes you money.

It’s your money, you have the absolute right to spend it in any way you want – but really, do you want to spend your money on stupid shit?