What is ‘Civil Litigation’?
‘Civil Litigation’ is the broad term used to describe lawsuits in the non-criminal arena. So, pretty much any dispute you can think of would fall into civil litigation. Florida has an army of attorneys that practice ‘civil litigation.’ However, not all are the same. At Carpenter Gandhi, we focus our litigation program to achieve return on investment for the client. That is, we want the client involved in our process so that we’re working toward a common goal. When a dispute arises, many times it isn’t in the client’s interest to get tangled up in a long litigation process. Perhaps, the issues could be resolved outside of the courtroom. At Carpenter Gandhi, we tailor our litigation strategy to the client, whether that be a trial strategy or a dispute resolution strategy.
How much does litigation cost?
The answer you’ll hear most often is ‘a lot.’ And that’s not necessarily untrue. In terms of time and stress alone, the price of litigation is high. Generally, litigation begins with an estimation of time and costs, from which the attorney will probably quote a retainer – maybe $5,000-$10,000 (sometimes higher) and will charge against that an hourly fee (maybe $250.00 – $400.00) and potential costs (expert witnesses, process servers, etc.). However, at Carpenter Gandhi, we have structured our litigation program to be as cost efficient and predictable as possible. We charge a non-refundable initial retainer of $2,500 that we bill against at $250.00 per hour for attorneys and $75.00 for paralegals. We work with you to develop timelines and work through expectations so that you are able to know exactly what the litigation plan will entail and have an understanding of the overall costs involved.
I’ve been told my dispute is too small to get a lawyer, is that true?
Well, maybe… that’s up to you. In our opinion, you’re generally better going at the dispute with a lawyer than not, but that’s not always possible. Many lawyers, for example, won’t even consider taking on a small claims case (that is, money damages less than $5,000.00). Or, they will quote a fee or retainer that’s more than what’s in dispute. At the Carpenter Gandhi, we have a structured small claims litigation program that allows us to offer representation at an affordable rate.
If I hire a lawyer in a dispute, it is just going to escalate things and ruin my relationship with the other party, right?
It can, but generally that depends on the approach of the attorney you hire. In our experience, we’ve noticed that the initial reaction to the retention of an attorney is that we’re there to cause trouble and escalate things to trial – either for money or to feed our egos. Sadly, that may be the approach of some attorneys. At Carpenter Gandhi, the goal is based upon the client’s goals. Oftentimes, disputes are between parties with close and ongoing relationships, whether it be a business relationship, a landlord-tenant relationship, or just a personal one. In these circumstances, our view is that our initial involvement should be focused on clearing communication lines and focus on resolving the dispute while mending the relationship. This isn’t always possible, but in our view, it’s worthwhile to start here. This is also why we highly endorse dispute resolution options outside of a lawsuit before heading to Court.
If you’re facing a dispute or lawsuit, contact the litigation attorneys at Carpenter Gandhi today to discuss how we may be able to help!