H.O. Lock opines on litigation

I often tell clients, “litigation is a blunt instrument,” and encourage efforts to come to a fair settlement before the expenses of a lawsuit mount up.  In 1946 Henry Osmond Lock (1879-1962), a Dorsetshire solicitor (his father represented the author Thomas Hardy), published a short volume entitled “Advice to a Young Solicitor,” distilling 40 years of experience at the bar into sound recommendations for the young lawyer.  Here is his more elegant paragraph on the topic:

Empty courtroom
Image from Shutterstock. Used under license.

“You may take it that in almost all cases of civil proceedings, the commencement of litigation is preceded by a course of negotiation.  Then is the time that it may be well to ‘agree with thine adversary quickly while thou art in the way with him.’ A fair and reasonable settlement is often more satisfactory than an action fourth out to the bitter end, even though the outcome be a verdict in your client’s favour.  A successful litigant has many expenses to shoulder himself, and many an apparent triumph secured in the Courts of Law has in the end proved to be but a Pyrrhic Victory.”