Whether you hire the best legal counsel or represent yourself, most court documents become public record. Ironically for the as-yet-unnamed actress in the above Hollywood Reporter link, that means she needs to admit her age in order to prove she is a victim of age discrimination.
Think for a moment about what kind of records you will need to prove that you are a victim of trade secret infringement. That's right! In order to demonstrate that the defendant stole your secrets, you will have to explain those very secrets to the court. You can request that the documents or courtroom be sealed, but often reluctance to expose important documents leads parties to settle cases that might have been won in open court... at a price.
Even in the heat of contentious litigation, it's important to never lose sight of the forest for all the trees in the way. Much of the negative pop culture stereotypes about lawyers involve the desire to "win at all costs" or to drag a case to court despite how much it will cost the parties financially and emotionally. Some lawyers may deserve this stereotype, which makes it all the more important to thoroughly interview potential counsel and resist the urge to get caught up in the "win" of your case. Try to keep your eye on what's good for you and your business long-term.
With business litigation, there is a very real threat that your competitors can extrapolate vital intel from even the things you refuse to say in open court. And don't forget, when you are the one bringing a suit, the judge is probably not going to take your word for it: the burden is on you to demonstrate that you've been wronged.
Civil lawsuits are an important dispute resolution tool in our society, and the open tradition of court records serves several purposes. First, it makes a public record of who won a particular dispute so that the parties are clear on their obligations to each other after the decision. Second, it shows other parties with similar circumstances what is likely to happen should they engage in litigation. That's the "deterrent" effect of a lawsuit, where even if $0 actually changes hands because the losing party is bankrupt, the winner is truly the winner as a matter of law, and that influences the behavior of others.
UPDATE 01/13/2012: The actress outed herself as Junie Hoang, 40, who plays younger characters in "B-list movies."