Before committing to potentially costly litigation or arbitration, it makes sense to seek an independent assessment of the case from a suitably experienced figure who has no interest in any aspect of any subsequent proceedings. More and more organisations are doing so.
The growing demand for Early Case Assessments* is attributed to increasing pressure on in-house legal departments to manage litigation more effectively, as regards both costs and the employer’s wider commercial interests.
In our experience, what most clients want is not another detailed legal analysis, but a sensible, informed conversation with an independent, experienced third party as to how best to deal with the problem in the most advantageous way.
Research confirms that case evaluations by opposing lawyers frequently differ markedly both from each other and from those by neutral counsel, based on the same information. This is widely attributed to unconscious bias, rather than to any improper motive.
Further, misperceptions abound regarding the many different types of alternative dispute resolution.
Litigation specialists are not always the best people to gauge the relative merits of the various procedures, and they are sometimes undoubtedly the wrong people to drive collaborative and/or consensual resolution proceedings.
Many lawyers positively welcome independent case assessments. In complex cases, a confidential, informed and insightful second opinion can be immensely helpful.
In more clear-cut cases, independent confirmation of the retained lawyer’s proposed strategy can greatly help to affirm that s/he is acting exclusively in the client’s best interests.
What we do
EEE Lex provides cost-effective and practical Case Assessments to assist clients to:
understand the practical implications of the various dispute resolution options, from settlement to litigation to ADR;
prioritize these pursuant to different criteria; and
formulate an appropriate strategy in each respect.
There are also instances when a client is minded to institute legal proceedings in an African jurisdiction, but is concerned about either the integrity of the process or any political aspects.
We are ideally placed to advise on such matters, free of the considerations that may influence the legal team already retained to prepare and possibly argue the case.
We do not believe that such assessments should be conducted only at the outset of a dispute: it makes sense to re-consider one’s options at any stage, if this might avoid further costs.
We operate on a fixed-fee basis, to dispel any notion that we might indulge in the very fee-maximising tactics that clients are often seeking to avoid by turning to us in the first place.
* Early Case Assessment is not the same as 'early neutral evaluation’. The former is based solely on the evidence available to the party concerned, is strictly confidential, and does not constitute formal legal advice. The latter typically involves a sitting judge hearing submissions from all sides and then giving his view to all the parties.