Limits of Litigation

“If your only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.”
Abraham Maslow, psychologist

“If you don’t know where you’re going, you might end up someplace else.”
Casey Stengel

“The people of Chengdu, similar to Chinese elsewhere, are leery of courts as a mechanism of dispute resolution.  Instead, they often turned to teahouses where individuals of status could informally hear the cases of conflicting parties and make a judgment.  The two parties then enjoyed ‘settlement tea’ (ci jiangcha) to symbolize their agreement to the ‘ruling.'”
Prof. Regina Abrami (Harvard Business School)

“People who fight fire with fire usually end up with ashes.”
Abigail Van Buren, newspaper columnist

“The price we pay for [unrestrained advocacy], the atmosphere of contention over trifles, the unwillingness to concede what ought to be conceded, and to proceed to the things which matter. Courts have fallen out of repute; many of you avoid them whenever you can, and rightly. About trial hangs a suspicion of trickery and a sense of result depending upon cajolery or worse. I wish I could say that it was all unmerited. After now some dozen years of experience, I must say that as a litigant I should dread a law suit beyond almost anything else short of sickness and death.”
Judge Learned Hand, “The Deficiencies of Trials to Reach the Heart of the Matter,” Address to the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, 1921

“The entire legal profession… has become so mesmerized with the stimulation of the courtroom contest, that we tend to forget that we ought to be healers of conflict… trial by adversarial contest must in time go the way of the ancient trial by battle and blood… our system has become too costly, too painful, too destructive, too inefficient for truly civilized people.”
Chief Justice Warren Burger, excerpt from the 1984 “The State of Justice” speech

“Litigation is the basic legal right which guarantees every corporation its decade in court.”
David Porter

“I cannot tell you the number of times I have been frustrated at the waste of resources in resolving disputes through standard litigation practices. It sometimes reminds me of what an American army captain said in Vietnam: ‘To secure the village it was necessary to destroy it.'”
David Shaughnessy

“Lawsuits consume time, and money, and rest, and friends.”
George Herbert, priest and religious poet

“Litigation: a machine which you go into as a pig and come out as a sausage.”
Ambrose Bierce