Law Quadrangle (formerly Law Quad Notes)


Few of the suits that are filed continue to trial, but some plaintiffs and defendants find their interests served best by going to trial.

This essay is adapted from "Don’t Try: Civil Jury Verdicts in a System Geared to Settlement," appearing in 44 UCLA Law Review 1 (1996). Publication is by permission. A complete, fully cited version is available from the editor of Law Quadrangle Notes.

If it is true, as we often hear, that we are one of the most litigious societies on earth, it is because of our propensity to sue, not our affinity for trials. Of the hundreds of thousands of civil lawsuits that are filed each year in America, the great marjority are settled; of those that are not settled, most are ultimately dismissed by the plaintiffs or by the courts; only a few percent are tried to a jury or a judge.

This is no accident.