Lincoln on Litigation

by Ryan McKeen

I’ve written before that this blog is a product of things that I bump into. I constantly read law journals, the CT Law Tribune, various ABA magazines, and of course law blogs. Legal education doesn’t end with law school – it just gets less expensive.

Right now Abe Lincoln is hot. Abe is more ubiquitous than “injured-get” lawyer commercials. We’ve got Barack O’Lincoln in the White House and holiday honoring old Abe this month.

Honest Abe

This month the ABA Journal focuses on Lincoln and the practice of law. It’s a darned good issue.

I was reading an article yesterday and this quote jumped off the page at me:

Discourage litigation. Persuade your neighbors to compromise whenever you can. Point out to them how the nominal winner is often a real loser — in fees, expenses, and waste of time. As a peacemaker the lawyer has a superior opportunity of being a good man. There will still be business enough. -Abraham Lincoln, Esq.

The goal of the lawyer must be to solve his clients problems. Sometimes there is no choice but to fight until the last pleading and any litigator must be prepared to do just that. However, a litigator should always have his eye on a solution.

You don’t have to read Above The Law (though if you’re an attorney you probably should) to know that the private bar in this country is not immune from this depression.

It’s worth remembering that for the lawyer who acts peacemaker “there will still be business enough.”