When lawyers say “settle this case or we’re going to trial” the vast majority of the time they are bluffing. This is because in order to adequately prepare for and try a case, the lawyer would have to set aside the ongoing work, and impending deadlines, of 40-50 cases to focus solely on the trial case. It simply can’t happen. The case is going to settle no matter what and usually for less than its maximum potential…but not at Console Mattiacci Law, LLC. This is because we do it differently. I carry a case list of 1 – the one case going to trial next. Once summary judgment is denied, I receive a delivery of boxes and electronic data containing the depositions, documents and motions which have been gathered and written by another lawyer in the firm. Some say: having not lived the case during discovery aren’t you at a disadvantage? How can you possibly ingest all of the facts at this stage? Simple – I am able to spend all day, every day, focused on that one case. I get to view it with fresh eyes, often crafting arguments for trial that the opposing side has neither heard nor, hopefully, anticipated. I have one job: to try the case. My calendar has one entry: trial. All settlement negotiations are handled by Steve Console. My focus remains singular: verdict.
Trying a case is a completely different animal than discovering a case. It takes a different skill set which can only be improved with days spent on your feet in the courtroom. In addition, most lawyers do not have the time, nor the realistic need, to dig deep into the rules of evidence, spend days at a seminar solely on the art of closing arguments, or remain on the brink of the latest trial technology and jury selection research. But I do and I love every minute of it. Our unique set-up has produced formidable results: earlier this year we obtained a six-figure, unanimous federal court age discrimination verdict against AT&T; in 2013, we secured a $1.678 million verdict, plus attorneys’ fees and costs, for a whistle-blower – the largest employment law verdict that year; in dozens of other cases prepared for trial they settled either right before it started or after several days of trial, often for ten to twenty times the pre-trial settlement offer. We’ve had only one loss which, as they say, taught me more than the wins combined and served to heighten my motivation for the next one. This arrangement is a team effort – from the receptionist who takes the initial call, to the legal assistants who work into the night making sure we are organized and seamless, to the lawyers building the case and fighting the motions to get us to the promised land.
So when Steve Console is at mediation and says: “settle this case or we’re going to trial” he’s not bluffing. I’m waiting eagerly for the call.
Laura Carlin Mattiacci is a partner at Console Mattiacci Law, LLC. In 2015, Laura was named to three “Top Lists” by Philadelphia Magazine and Super Lawyers: “Top 100 Attorneys in Pennsylvania” (one of 11 women on the list); “Top 100 Attorneys in Philadelphia” (one of 10 women on the list); and “Top 50 Female Attorneys in Pennsylvania.” In 2014, Laura was also named to the list of “Top 50 Female Attorneys in Pennsylvania” by Philadelphia Magazine and named a “Top Attorney” by South Jersey Magazine.