If you are in the midst of an employment discrimination lawsuit, chances are that at some point you will be invited to (or ordered to attend) a settlement conference. This is an opportunity for the parties to sit down and get to the heart of the issues to see if the case can be resolved. Judges relish these opportunities for parties because of the high cost of litigation and it provides a chance for people to resolve their differences quickly.
This post will provide some helpful tips as you prepare for your next settlement conference.
Know what your attorney can and can’t do – In a settlement conference, your lawyer is not supposed to be the buzzsaw you hired him or her to be in standing up to your ex. Instead, your attorney will be more of an advisor. After all, a decision to settle and walk away will be yours alone.
Leave your emotions at the door – Indeed, you may have harbored some deep-seated resentment towards your employer, but ultimately the case should be handled like a business transaction. Since these transactions are supposed to be made dispassionately, you should leave your emotions at the door. After all, a settlement conference is not the venue to lob accusations and fight about what you want.
Know your nuisance calculation – Inherently, in litigation, there is a clear winner and a clear loser (even if the parties are equally matched on the merits of the case). The downside is that the loser leaves completely disheartened and demoralized. On top of that, they may owe some money too. To avoid this scenario, you may have to think critically about how much it would cost (financially and emotionally) to get what you want.