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The Vanishing Trial

April 30, 2007

Vic Schachter, a partner in Fenwick & West's Litigation Group and Chair of its Employment Practices Group, was recently quoted in a BusinessWeek story entitled, "The Vanishing Trial."

While there continues to be a profusion of lawsuits in the United States, fewer cases are actually going to trial these days. In fact, the United States has seen a significant drop in the number of civil trials – falling 40% over the past three decades. Much of this has to do with skyrocketing legal costs and judicial intolerance for weak cases. As a result, many parties have been encouraged to turn to mediation and arbitration to resolve disputes.

This growing trend has sparked a debate among judges and attorneys alike. Some believe that trials are an important part of justice in America, setting the precedent for how people and businesses should behave. Yet others in the legal community have embraced the fact that trials are becoming more of the exception, rather than the rule.

Schachter is quoted as saying, "Courtroom litigation is 'a very inefficient process' for most cases." Schachter, who heads Fenwick & West's employment litigation practice, is a seasoned attorney with more than 30 years experience in bringing cases to trial – or not bringing them to trial, as the situation demands.