The lawyer’s most important task is to help one’s client to achieve the best possible outcome in a case. The best possible outcome sometimes depends on the client – whether it is seeking full remuneration, partial win or reaching an agreement. An experienced and competent lawyer can present multiple different options to the client aimed to solve the problem from which the client can choose the best to their liking.
Choosing conciliation may be the best option for a lot of reasons. Usually it is because of two major ones: risk management or to avoid a longer dispute. From risk management perspective the cause of the dispute can for example be a legally ambiguous question of interpretation. Then both parties have valid and sound arguments backing them up, prompting the question how should the situation be solved from economic perspective. In this situation both parties have a risk of being on the wrong side of argument. This is because law and legal texts can be abstract, and thus prompt interpretations of their meaning. This is true especially when there are no precedents by the courts or the existing precedent is not sufficient in a certain case. It needs to be said that if interpreting law and legal texts would be easy and without risk of misunderstandings, the whole dispute might not exist in the first place.
Solving legal disputes in district courts can sometimes last for years. From the client’s perspective the legal process is usually nerve-racking and seems to be endless. Even after receiving a decision from a district court the opposite party might appeal the case to higher courts – no matter how the issue was resolved in the district court. Conciliation can therefore be justified and reasonable just from the perspective that the legal process can be ended swiftly and the question of appealing the case can be forgotten. It is also possible that in some cases the different instances of court would hold different opinions on the verdict of the case, causing even more work, time, and fees to the client. One could relate the situation to Finland’s loss against Sweden in the 2003 hockey championship tournament where first there is a lead of 5-1 but in the end you lose 5-6. When the buzzer rings there is nothing to be done other than feeling bad.
Choosing conciliation as a dispute resolution measure might be a better option from financial perspective of the client due to legal fees. Going to court is not free and usually the fees rack up rapidly when appealing the case to higher instances. If for example the client does not have a good legal insurance, or one at all, the client is at financial risk. It is better to get something, rather than to get nothing.
There are many kinds of conciliation agreements. Usually conciliation ends in a solution where both parties make compromises regarding their demands. Conciliation can also result in a payment of agreed sum or that both parties agree to cover their own legal costs from the conciliation procedure. Most legal insurances cover the costs even when reaching an agreement in the conciliation process. Conciliation can feel like giving up at first, but after a while the client usually looks at the conciliation process in a better light and as a best solution.
However, conciliation is not always the perfect solution. This is due to the fact that the legal outcome might be certain or almost certain from the start. If the legal process seems to be long, and this does not bother the client, following the legal process to the very end might sometimes be the best option. In some cases, it might be so that the opposing party does not agree to conciliation – in this case the only option is to go through with the legal process – the job of a lawyer is then to acknowledge the hidden risks and their effects to the case, and to offer options and solutions to the client based on these. In short, a good lawyer always knows what would be some of the most reasonable and first of all favorable courses of action to the client in a dispute.
Elias Rauhala ja Lauri Miikkulainen