Guns or Shovels? Rethinking The Standard Approach to Litigation

At Calkins Law Firm we firmly believe in data-driven legal methods. We like to fully understand a case before bringing a suit - no surprises are good surprises. But not every legal professional operates this way.

Liability and Legal Action

Years ago, a personal experience brought home the importance of digging for facts. A high-profile attorney contacted me with a demand letter, asking for insurance information so he could handle a situation that arose on my sheep farm. There was a definite payoff undertone to his request. 

Seeing as I was wholly unaware of the circumstances or his specific allegations of "violation of the duty to supervise," I gave him a call to discuss. Unbeknownst to me, a farm hand's relative was in an altercation with another relative while on my property. I knew neither of them or the cause of the dispute, and certainly hadn't given anyone authority to shoot a BB gun or incur injury. Nevertheless, the attorney insisted that because I had not maintained supervision it was a clear violation, I was liable, and we should just make this go away with a check from my insurance company. After some investigation and two days' time, the threat of a claim was dropped. 

Dig Deep and Analyze

Looking back on what was a whirlwind of accusation and acquiescence, it is clear that this well-known attorney opted for the "shoot first, ask questions later" approach. He took aim and fired before collecting data, assessing facts, or determining whether there truly was a legitimate basis for a suit. Sadly, this flawed method is all too common, and it is one tactic that gives attorneys and the legal profession a bad name.

On the contrary, our team at Calkins Law has always taken a different path. We invariably meet with our clients prior to entertaining even the possibility of bringing a suit. We do our level best to understand all of the facts and circumstances at play before making a decision to get involved, or determining how to proceed. As a general rule, we prefer to have a clear factual and legal picture in order to decide whether a claim has merit. The same holds true if we are to serve as a client's defense - confidence in our strategy and the basis for their defense are key. That kind of spadework means that we invest time and upfront effort, but everyone fares better for it.

Of course, try as we might to do the preliminary research, we can still encounter surprises and learn as we go. But that really isn't the point. We cannot account for hidden or obscure information. All we can do, in every case, is to be thorough in our factual and legal investigation and research. Then we at least know that we are proceeding with reasonable assertions or accusations. We do this work for our clients, but in a way, we do it for ourselves also. Legal proceedings are pricey, and we do not wish to waste anyone's time or treasure - yours or our own. Going into a claim with eyes wide open, fully armed with facts and legal know-how means that we can be prepared to encounter whatever lies ahead. It also means that we will not take on board a case that cannot stand on its own facts. We are different by design, and our clients appreciate the change.

Trustworthy Experts, Realistic Advice

At Calkins Law Firm we stand ready to help you resolve legal issues in the best way possible. This means taking into account all aspects of your situation and proceeding with caution. Our goal is to help you come out of legal action better for having pursued it - wasting time or money is not on our agenda. So if you are looking for solid legal advice and a practical approach, reach out to us today. We are ready to put our expertise to work for you.

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Benjamin Calkins

Benjamin Calkins

Ben Calkins is a well-educated, top-rated, and highly experienced business law attorney.

Ben Calkins is an honors graduate of Harvard College and the University of Michigan Law School. After law school, he clerked for a Federal Judge before joining one of the World’s largest law firms, Squire, Sanders & Dempsey. Mr. Calkins has also worked at, and been a partner in, several of the most prominent “old style law firms” in the World.