Size Matters: Chipmunks, Elephants, and the Push for SettlementsOn October 29, 2021 by Schnader
Dennis R. Suplee published an article, “Size Matters: Chipmunks, Elephants, and the Push for Settlements,” in Alternatives, the newsletter of the International Institute for Conflict Prevention & Resolution (CPR).
He wrote: “Years ago, when I was a kid lawyer, I attended a continuing legal education program that featured two of the best judges in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas discussing how they settled cases. . . . The second Judge, Harry A. Takiff, a self-effacing fellow, began his remarks by saying that his last three settlements were in the range of $40,000 to $60,000. He commented, ‘These cases were not elephants. You could say that they were chipmunks.’ Then, with a twinkle in his eye, he added, ‘But I suggest that often it’s a lot harder to shoot a chipmunk, no matter how big your gun, than it is to shoot an elephant.’ As a mediator of commercial cases, I have found that Judge Takiff was very much on the mark. When the stakes are small, often the case becomes harder to settle.”