Settlement Counsel

What is a “Settlement Counsel?”

A settlement counsel is an attorney who will represent you in a dispute but whose only job is to help you get it settled. If you and he are unable to settle the case, his involvement ends and you move on to court or whatever other process is available for resolution of the dispute. He is your advocate and representative but his only responsibility is to help you get your dispute behind you on terms that are acceptable to you and the other party. He acts, in effect, as a non-neutral mediator attempting to bring you and the other party to a deal but always with your interests in mind.

Why a Settlement Counsel?

Many lawsuits are settled by the parties and their litigators with each other. Often, though, litigators (probably with some reason) view raising the subject of settlement early in the process as showing some lack of confidence in their client's case. On the other hand, bringing in separate settlement counsel can allow a business or other party to a dispute to send a businesslike message: we'd rather settle on reasonable terms than spend enormous amounts on legal fees, so we have a counsel to help us achieve that result, but if we can't get there, our litigators are ready to go full speed ahead.

A settlement counsel can also be compensated on a "contingent" basis. That doesn't necessarily mean that he receives a percentage of the settlement amount, but simply that he receives more if the case settles than if it doesn't. That means that you, the client, don't have to pay as much if your settlement counsel is unsuccessful. Most codes of conduct for neutral mediators frown on "success" fees on the theory that a neutral shouldn't have any incentive to strong arm people into settlements, but that logic doesn't apply to a settlement counsel, who by definition is not neutral.

What We Do

Bob Berliner brings the same problem-solving and deal-making skills that make him a successful mediator to the role of settlement counsel. He brings to that role the legal and business acumen developed over the years as a private practitioner of law, general counsel to a major group of companies, real estate developer and investor, and private business owner. In the role of settlement counsel, he recently helped a family-owned Chicago business settle a dispute with a professional services firm involving hundreds of thousands of dollars in fees. Let him help you settle your dispute.

Bob was referred to us through several sources...It was a pleasure [to] work with him, and his diligence and insights were key to achieving the desired result. Good work, good outcome, and I can heartily recommend him. Thank you Bob.

-- Forrest Bailey, President and CEO Draper & Kramer