Settling a case that involves potential court-awarded attorney fees raises a big issue—a conflict of interest between plaintiffs’ counsel and their clients. But it’s definitely possible for plaintiffs’ attorneys to deal with this sticky situation with their ethical duties intact.
In a recent Florida case, the plaintiff lost $80,000 of settlement proceeds he had received on his employment discrimination claim after his daughter spilled the beans on Facebook. Breaching the confidentiality clause in a settlement agreement—and getting caught at it—is frighteningly easy in the age of social media.
After you’ve settled a case and prepared the final settlement papers memorializing the agreement, all that’s left for the parties to do is execute that agreement. You’re close to the finish line—don’t slack off yet!
Congratulations, you’ve reached a settlement! Now you need to set it out in the final settlement documents. You need to include all the terms on which the parties have agreed, as well as terms to make it enforceable. To help make sure you don’t miss anything, here’s a checklist of 14 common settlement terms.
Negotiations rarely proceed as smoothly or swiftly as we first envision. This is partially because settling a case requires finding a result that satisfies both parties, yet litigators are trained to be zealous advocates for their clients and their clients alone. Instead of thinking how much you can get for your client relative to how much your counterpart can get for his or her own, try thinking in terms of how much more you could both get for your clients relative to litigating in court.