Being a person of principle is usually an indication of someone who has high standards and expects those around them to be similarly honourable.

When you’re looking for a new partner, or a new employee, aspiring to have someone who holds high moral standing is no surprise.

You might assume that the same would apply when you are introduced to a potential new client. They want you to have high standards (obviously) but you may be surprised to learn that a solicitor may not want their client to be too principled, as it can be to everyone’s disadvantage.

In particular, clients who start sentences with statements like “I want my day in court” and “it’s the principal of the thing” can strike fear into the heart of every red blooded litigator, and I’m no exception.

Whilst I’m always up for the fight, Judges are pushing more and more for mediation, and will not hesitate to penalise parties who unreasonably fail or refuse to at least try to do a deal. A client may feel that they want to be publicly exonerated, and I do understand that, but principals can often come at a cost. In a recent case, a successful Defendant had their costs reduced by 25% due to their unwillingness to give a good reason for rejected several offers and attempts by the Claimant to negotiate. Given that you never recover every last penny of your costs, and usually we tell clients that if they recover 70% of your actual legal fees you’re doing well, this case is likely to have cost the Defendant around 50% of their legal bill.

So if your solicitor encourages you to at least listen to what the other side have, they’re not being weak, they’re trying to protect you.

Kleyman & Co Solicitors. The full service law firm. Legal and moral advice.