A lawyer friend had a client once who insisted on asking for $1.5 million to settle a discrimination case. The client did not make anywhere close to a six figure salary. He had lost very little income income. My friend the lawyer, tried and tried to describe to him the reality of low damage cases and how much value they held. After thinking about it a few days, the client came by the office to drop off some papers. He stuck his head in the door. Said he had been thinking about it. Said he was prepared to lower his initial settlement offer. … Said he was willing to settle for $1.0 million.
He just did not get it. He did not get that you need to trust your lawyer, not some friend or relative who claims to know something about the law. He did not get that low damages equals low value in settlement talks. If you have lost little or no money, then your case is worth little or nothing. If you do not trust your lawyer, then you should hire another attorney.
When you hire a lawyer, you hire him/her for her judgment. Skills, education, experience are critical components. But, the most important factor is judgment. Is your lawyer objective enough? Will she believe in your case yet still be objective enough to speak on your behalf
As for that client who came down to a "reasonable" settlement offer of $1.0 million, my friend learned later that the client was relying on advice from a paralegal friend. My friend lost the case on summary judgment. He recommended that the client not appeal. But, the client found a lawyer anyway and appealed. He lost.
A settlement offer of $1.0 million in that particular case was so unreasonable that the employer never responded with a counter-offer. As I have told many clients, its one thing to suffer unfair treatment at the job. But, to let the son-of-a-gun win at trial or during the lawsuit just makes it all so much worse.