How many cases go to trial? And what does it mean to "go to trial?"

Many people mistakenly believe that if a lawsuit is filed, their case is going to trial. In reality, the filing of a lawsuit is the beginning of a process that ends in a trial less than five percent of the time. The other 95+% of cases settle or are dismissed sometime between the filing of the lawsuit and the actual trial. Some settle right before trial, after all the work of preparing for trial is done. 

Lawyers, with or without clients, may go to court for hearings on limited issues many times before trial. A trial is when both sides present all their witness testimony and other evidence in order to convince a judge or jury that they should win the case.