Settlement counsel is a lawyer who focus exclusively on resolving a client’s case through negotiation, as opposed to preparing it for court. Though settlement counsel is knowledgeable in the law and the litigation process her expertise is in resolving conflict without court intervention whenever and wherever possible to save a client time, risk, stress, and money.

Settlement counsel takes a ‘big picture’, problem-solving approach to a dispute in which legal rights are important but a client’s other needs and interests are also considered.

In this approach settlement counsel will work on a case with other counsel who continues to prepare the case for litigation and see it through to trial, if necessary. Throughout the preparations, settlement counsel will explore every opportunity to resolve the case and in many cases assist in at least narrowing the issues in dispute if not settling the entire matter. 

This approach is pragmatic in that it acknowledges the reality that certain matters may require a third party decision maker while streamlining the process to identify and deal with the parts of the dispute that can be dealt with by agreement.

Further Reading:

The Canadian Case for Settlement Counsel by Jamie Dunbar, Global Resolutions

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