Stewart Levine, an author and consultant in the area of alternative dispute resolution, has piece The Many Costs of Conflict in the December issue of Law Practice Today.
The cost of conflict is composed of the following:
- Direct Cost: Fees of lawyers and other professionals
- Productivity Cost: Value of lost time. The opportunity cost of what those involved would otherwise be producing.
- Continuity Cost: Loss of ongoing relationships including the “community” they embody
- Emotional Cost: The pain of focusing on and being held hostage by your emotions
It’s worth thinking about all these costs when you contemplate litigation. Even if you proceed pro se to avoid paying for a lawyer, you can’t avoid the other costs (and sometimes they’ll shoot up because of your decision to go pro se). Is your dispute with your neighbor who trimmed your tree really worth the hours you’ll spend working on and worrying about the litigation and the bitterness that the litigation will foster? Maybe so. But think about it.