As litigation counsel to mid and large-sized corporations, we are often asked whether to settle a case or take it to trial. On a micro level, the reasons to settle are many. For any given case, settlement is often quicker, cheaper and confidential. But for corporate clients managing large defense dockets, particularly ones that include contingency-driven personal injury cases, employment disputes and consumer class actions, there are big picture benefits to taking some cases to trial.
This article examines why corporate clients settle early and then explores the crucially important benefits of not settling. Our experience has taught us that developing a reputation as a “fighter” rather than a “settler” can inspire a healthy dose of fear in the plaintiffs’ bar, resulting in fewer lawsuits against corporate clients and more favorable settlements in filed cases. Recognizing that sometimes, the need to prevent outsized verdicts can be an overriding concern, the article concludes with a hybrid approach for large-value cases: binding arbitration, which can combine the reputational benefit of fighting with the cost certainty and confidentiality of settling.