The unsettling truth about settling: Part two

AuthorThe Honourable Joseph W. Quinn
g Fall 2017
e unselin uh abu elin:
Once upon a time, in a Kingdom far away, I was a lawyer.
I recall that 99 percent of my professional headaches were
caused by fewer than 5 percent of my les. A friend of mine
referred to those problem les as “movers.” He would stack them on a
corner of his desk and, every week or so, move them to a dierent corner.
Even today, when I am asked what it takes to be a trial lawyer, I reply, “A
big desk with as many corners as possible.”
Is there anything more satisfying than settling a problem le without
a trial and being paid a nice fee for doing so? What about taking some of
those les to trial and getting a successful result? Realistically, if you are
light on courtroom experience, a trial is unlikely to happen.
Are you content being a trial lawyer who does not do trials? Really? If,
on a golf course, you hit every green in regulation gures but then pick
up your ball and walk to the next tee because you do not know how to
putt, are you still a golfer? Just asking.
* Portions of this article formed the basis of an oral presentation by the Honourable
Joseph W. Quinn, Superior Court of Justice (retired), at the annual general meeting
of the Canadian Defence Lawyers Association in Toronto on June 8, 2017. The arti-
cle is a sequel to “The unsettling truth about settling” (Advocates’ Journal, Winter

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