Commercial Litigation: On Time & On Budget

As a business owner it is inevitable.  At some point in your corporate existence you will either be sued or need to sue.  Sometimes there are simply no other ways to resolve contractual disagreements.  Make sure that when this unfortuante occurance arises you educate yourself fully as to your rights and responsibilites.

First, sit with trusted counsel and review the agreements that the parties have signed.  This will be a great opportunity to understand  the expectations that the parties had for each other.  You will learn what your rights are and what remedies are available to you.  This is also the chance to insure that you have performed adequately under the contract.

Second, educate yourself as to what the parties contend that each has done wrong.  This will help you focus clearly on what is really at stake between the parties.

Third, find out what your alternatives are.  Trial is not always the best answer.  It may be worth while to pursue binding arbitration, non-binding mediation or even a multi-party negotiation with counsel.  These are excellent opportunites to stream line the disputes.  The process is cheaper, evidence and court rules are more liberally construed and the parties have more control over the process.

Lastly, make sure your counsel knows what’s really important to your business…bringing the litigation to a proper conclusion “on time” and “on budget”.  Establish with your attorney a meaningful measurement of proper time constraints to resolve the dispute and create a budget that meets your expectations.  For some reason lawyers are reluctat to commit themselves to the anticipated costs and fees that will be incurred at each stage of the process.  After 25 years of practicing law I can predict costs and fess on almost every case I’m involved with.  Your attorney should also.  Make sure that your counsel knows what’s important to your business and to you.

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