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Somewhere in the “Ancient Book of Trial Lawyer Truths” is the precept that a bad settlement is better than a bad trial result. But over time, this truism has been pushed well beyond itsintent to the practice we seem to have now—the infinitely absurd notion that a settlement is the only result. According to the 2009 book “The Death of the American Trial” by Northwestern University law professor Robert Burns, the number of federal civil cases ending in trials has declined from 11.5 percent in 1962 to just 1.2 percent in 2002.

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