Markets in everything, legal edition

by on April 22, 2007 at 6:39 pm in Law | Permalink

In 21 states for which data were available, the number of civil jury trials fell 40% from 1976 to 2004.

That is from "The Vanishing Trial," Business Week, 30 April 2007.

1 Ed April 22, 2007 at 10:11 pm

What’s this about?

2 Matthew April 23, 2007 at 3:15 am

As attorney fees go up relative to the amount at stake for a civil trial, the payoff of a settlement is increased. If the two parties decide to go to trial instead of settling, they both have to pay much higher attorney fees for a jury trial.

So, I think this statistic says that attorney fees have greatly increased over 30 years relative to what the attorneys provide their clients.

3 josh April 23, 2007 at 10:02 am

Aren’t there civil non-jury trials?

4 Anderson April 24, 2007 at 2:09 pm

I doubt it’s arbitration so much as the incentive to settle; re: the latter, it’s more the fear of a large (or zero) verdict than the att’y fees. Those do figure in, but not so much as the uncertainty.

One might also want to note that civil defendants’ attorneys are usually being paid by the hour, & thus have an incentive to take the case close to trial without getting wet.

A relevant statistic would be the % of denied motions for summary judgment that lead to trials. Once the SJ motion fails, the defendant usually starts to think of settling.

5 Lauren April 27, 2007 at 12:00 pm

I agree with elsa, attorneys are taking advantage of clients these days. I had to hire an attorney and it seemed like the case was prolonged just to get more money out of me. I also believe that this is worse in college students because most dont know any better.

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