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STEPS TO WIN A LAWSUIT
By: Janet Nina Esagoff, Esq.
Hello, my name is Janet Nina Esagoff. In my civil litigation practice, we represent plaintiffs and defendants. As I regularly tell
my clients, adult children, and anyone who will listen-- in life, it’s not about being right or wrong, it’s about “WINNING”. So
how do you win a lawsuit?
ONE: The biggest consideration is to know what your goals are! By defining what you want to accomplish before starting a
lawsuit, or defending it, it is critical that you understand what you aim to achieve, and likely potential outcomes. If you do not
discuss that with your legal counsel, or fully comprehend what your goals are if you are handling a case on your own, you will
be proceeding to a trial without knowing where your target is, or what it looks like when you come upon it.
TWO: Understand the costs of litigation, both money and time, as you would a financial investment. Litigation is not for the
faint at heart. Not just legal fees and costs, but in terms of the time to get to the finish line, and the emotional stress it can
create. Be careful about lawyers who overpromise and under- deliver. No one really knows what a judge may rule, and your
facts may be as good as the other side, a little something called “mitigating circumstances.” There are few slam dunks. Courts
are like casinos, and you can lose your shirt.
THREE: Always consider the cost benefit of settling your case rather than “I’d rather pay my lawyer than my enemy.” A good,
honest lawyer will tell you to not to let emotions get the best of you, and to put funds towards a settlement, not on retainer to your attorney. If you find it offensive
to settle a case because then the other side “won” then think again. Why give hard earned dollars to an hourly lawyer so he or she can pay for their fancy office or
overhead? Why not find the sweet spot in your case and just agree to end the war?
FOUR: Representing yourself in a case is not always a great idea. Sometimes it is just fine. An honest attorney will counsel you on the perils of going “pro se” and
the disadvantages of looking to the internet (a/k/a “Google University”) for contracts, forms or do-it- yourself legal research. A good attorney does not discourage
potential clients from going it alone when they can, or should. Likewise, getting a fancy lawyer and paying a hefty retainer does not guarantee success in your
litigation. When searching for an attorney, you must do your due diligence. Ask friends and family for referrals. Check out Yelp, Avvo and Google for review and
visit websites. You should never feel bad about vetting your lawyer prior to hiring them. You should feel bad if you go straight to the “best” without doing your
homework and then facing a hefty first retainer to pay with the clock running before you even leave their office. I cannot stress this enough: It is important that the
attorney you choose is a good match for you, your budget and your goals. Trust me, good lawyers are out there and the really good ones care enough to answer
your questions and allay your concerns.
FIVE: In New York City, if you are seeking $10,000.00 or less in damages, utilize small claims court. Send a strong demand letter via USPS mail (no texts!) and
invite them to contact you to settle the score. If they fail to respond, file a small claims case ($25.00) and the court system does all the work to notify the
defendant. If you have good claims over $25,000.00 and especially if you have consequential damages, i.e. legal fees due to written contract terms, then Supreme
Court is the right venue. Either way, if you are quoted a legal fee of $5,000.00 or more just to commence a “low value” case, which will run up to double that, then
be very mindful that your legal fees do not surpass your monetary goal. That, my friends, is what they call a bad investment.
Esagoff Law Group, PC specializes in civil litigation including landlord-tenant law, contract and real estate matters. They offer free consultations and flat fees and
led by top-rated attorneys. Call 1-844-4-LAWFIX to schedule a an appointment to discuss your legal matter.
LAW. DIFFERENTLY. • 917 Northern Boulevard, Great Neck, NY 11021 • Office: (516) 304-5944 • Fax: (844) 400-7770 • www.esagofflaw.com