According to the California Judicial Council you have about a one in three chance your case will go to trial. In 2018, of the 210,028 unlimited civil cases that were filed (i.e., cases with an amount at issue of more than $25,000) only 33 percent made it all the way to trial. The odds are even less if you’re involved in a limited civil case (i.e., cases with an amount at issue of less than $25,000) where only 15 percent make it all the way to trial.
The reason: Lawyers are expensive. The other reason: Trials are risky. As well prepared as your counsel may be for trial, when it comes to trials, like boxes of chocolates, “Ya never know what you’re gonna get.” And sometimes you really, really don’t know what you’re going to get.
I had a client involved in a trial once. The defendant’s representative at trial was a well-to-do young man and heir to a hotel fortune. He was young, athletic and had a confident, carefree way about himself that reminded me of “Dickie” Greenleaf from the Talented Mr. Ripley. And I wasn’t the only one who noticed.