Many cases are settled before any legal claim is filed or a trial is held.
Settlements are driven by the strength of the plaintiff’s or prosecutor’s case,
the potential cost of the litigation, the possible adverse publicity from a public
airing of the dispute, the potential risk of loss in court, and each party’s
concern with resolving the dispute quickly. The terms of many settlements,
both private and criminal, include confidentiality agreements that reduce or
eliminate the defendant’s public relations problem. This can be a powerful
settlement tool if the defendant will suffer from the adverse publicity even if
ultimately found innocent. There are financial incentives for defense lawyers to
fight claims that are better settled, so defendants must be attentive to their
own best interests.