General Practice, Solo & Small Firm DivisionMagazine
Volume 17, Number 7
If negotiations before trial have not led to a settlement and you now find yourself with a judgment, you may still have the opportunity to negotiate. If the judgment is in your favor and the other party appeals, you may consider negotiating a resolution. Although this will require client education, a negotiated resolution that results in immediate payment of part of the judgment may be a better choice for your client than the appeals process.
Some appellate courts, such as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, have settlement programs. A lawyer or judge is assigned to the case to see if the parties can resolve the dispute prior to briefing. More and more appellate courts are instituting a form of case management that includes settlement discussion with the parties. Even if your court does not have such a program, there is no reason why you cannot approach the other party with the possibility of negotiating a resolution. Sometimes proposing something as simple as a structured settlement may lead to a postjudgment resolution. You may also consider requesting a settlement conference from the appellate court.