Conflict causes an adrenaline rush. I'm sure there are people who get hooked on the rush. Particularly litigating attorneys.
I know many attorneys who say they like going to court. Many get a high caused from the intense focus needed to prepare and argue to win. Walking out of the courthouse after a successful morning at court, gives a feeling of having been somewhere and done something. From my personal experience, it's a type of satisfaction that makes me want to go order a steak. Unless you lose and you believe you should have prepared better. Then you just feel sick and don't want to eat.
My question for the legal profession is: Are were serving our client's best interest if we are litigating possibly for reasons having to do were our own personal sense of thrill? If the clients are fully informed would they choose to go forward with a court action?
Yesterday, I had the refreshing experience of talking with a woman who was shopping attorneys and had been given quite realistic figures about the costs to litigate her family matter. She was quoted in the range of $20,000 to $40,000 per side. That's $60,000 to $80,000 to divorce a couple of upper-moderate means with significant conflict. These realistic figures are helping her put collaborative law into perspective.
Collaborative law is a process whereby the parties agree not to go to court or threaten to do so. Then, the focus is on options that will facilitate the case settle which often includes sharing joint experts to provide relevant expertise and emotional support. A great process because most of the divorce dollars are spent moving the case forward and preparing for the future of each party.
Probably the biggest difference between collaborative law and litigation is the treatment of stress and the management of conflict. In collaborative cases, the focus is on keeping the stress level down, understanding that people don't think as well when their emotions flared up. In court-action, the opposite is the case. The system provokes a party's emotions. In fact, it's tendency to rile people up is exactly the electric charge that ignites the chronic litigator's passion.
Hence the question, who is litigation really best for?