We often get asked what our success rate is, or how many cases we win versus lose. It is a complicated question for any lawyer to answer. Here’s why.
We first have to define what it means to “win” a case. Many people define a “win” as getting everything they asked for. But a divorce, like a marriage, is usually a matter of compromise. It is extremely rare for one parent or the other to get custody of their children 100% of the time. It is even more rare for one spouse or the other to get 100% of the property accumulated during the marriage, or for anyone to enjoy all of the fruits of a two-income household when there is now two households to support.
Our job is not to get you everything. Our job, as your advisor, is to help you determine what you need most. As your advisor, we help you discern what your child needs from each parent and craft a Parent Plan that meets those needs best. As your advisor, we help you ascertain what part of the marital estate you need to begin your new life with. Then, and only then, our job is to be your advocate, and get you – not everything – but that part that matters most.
For most of our clients, it’s a process that takes several months. You have to envision what your post-divorce life is going to be before you can determine what you need to take from your marriage to build it. Most clients need time to re-envision their relationship with their children as well. The process involves collecting the information that forms the building-blocks of post-divorce life, organizing it in a way that helps our clients plan, and presenting that plan to an often hurt, defensive, and angry ex and their lawyer–and, if they don’t agree, only then presenting our plan to the Court.
Inevitably, your interests and your spouse’s interests clash. That’s why you are getting divorced in the first place. The question is whether you are going to be able to negotiate a compromise that both sides can live with, or whether the Judge is eventually going to have to make a choice.
At Held Law Firm, approximately 85% of our cases settle at or before mediation, with our client leaving the process equipped and happy to begin their new life. That statistic is a function of the hard work and preparation of our attorneys and staff to inform our clients of all of their options, and the willingness of our clients to make reasonable choices.
Of the remaining 15% of our cases that go to trial, we define a “win” as obtaining more from a judge than the last and best offer we received from the opposing side to compromise. On that measure, our success rate at trial for the past five years is 97%.
In other words, when we do go to trial, we get better from the Judge than the opposing side’s last offer 97% of the time.
Yes, we are proud of that statistic. But what you need to know is this: it’s a team effort. From the moment you call us, we are assessing your options. From the moment that we begin investigating your case, we are working to provide you with the information to choose among those options to support your dreams. Through mediation, negotiations, and if necessary, through trial, our job is to advise you privately about the risks and consequences of various courses of action, and always, to advocate for you publicly, no matter what you decide.
Our clients, as well as our staff, make that 97% success rate possible. We look forward to working with you.
If you’d like to schedule a case assessment with Margaret Held or another Held Law Firm attorney, please call us at (865) 685-4780.