Previous articles presented some pointers on becoming an expert in your plant or organization. The opportunity to obtain meaningful work can come in many forms and sizes. Let’s return to the discussion of legal work.
By observation, legal cases typically come in three sizes based upon the potential for monetary recovery: small, medium and large. While there is a potential for a large number of small cases, few such cases are pursued aggressively because the potential monetary recovery of damages usually does not warrant the costs and risks associated with hiring a lawyer and expert(s). Examples of small cases include a boiler outage at a greenhouse, a flowmeter problem at a winery and a potential natural gas flowmeter issue at a fast-food restaurant. The potential monetary recovery of damages in these cases was small. In particular, the natural gas flowmeter case resulted in a determination that there were no damages, reassuring the owner that the flowmeter was accurate (which, in and of itself, has value).
The potential monetary recovery of damages associated with medium-size cases is larger than for small cases but still involves a determination of whether the amount of recovery is worth the cost of litigation and the risk of not recovering any damages. For example, recovering $100,000 may sound enticing but paying lawyers and experts to do so should make one think twice about the risks involved, especially since the court could rule in the other party’s favor and leave you with a (say) $75,000 legal bill to pay.
These considerations are similar to projects typically encountered working for operating companies. Large cases that are usually more complex, more challenging and more interesting will be discussed next month.
David W. Spitzer is a principal at Spitzer and Boyes, LLC, which offers engineering, focused market research, writing/editing white papers, strategic marketing consulting, distribution consulting, seminars and expert witness services for manufacturing and automation companies. Spitzer has written more than 400 technical articles and 10 books about flow measurement, instrumentation and process control. He can be reached at 845-623-1830 or via spitzerandboyes.com.