The specter of litigation dominates many business activities, even without a current dispute. Much of what companies do is protect themselves and minimize their own risks. Many businesses work backward, assessing their possible litigation risks and doing what they can to avoid them. Litigation is an ever-present consideration, even when you are not involved in an actual dispute. Reach out to a business litigation lawyer.
Litigation Is Not Rare When You Are in Business
At some point, practically every business will find itself involved in a disagreement, which can be difficult to resolve. When people and businesses have their different interests, they may inevitably conflict with each other. Although litigation is never a welcoming prospect, it does happen from time to time. The more complex and active your business is, the more often you may be involved in disputes.
In some cases, you may have never had a case that comes close to litigation before, and you find the prospect stressful and scary. Given the potential stakes, you have every reason to feel that way. However, hiring a business litigation attorney can at least give you some peace of mind to know that you are in the hands of an experienced professional.
You Must Hire a Business Litigation Attorney (and Quickly)
Not only do you need a business litigation lawyer, but you cannot wait too long to hire one. There is a point where it can be too late for an attorney to be effective. Although you may be afraid of the expense, there can be much higher costs when you postpone getting legal help.
Every company needs quick and ready access to a business litigation attorney. It makes business and legal sense.
Examples of Business Litigation
Business litigation can arise in many circumstances, including:
- Breach of contract cases
- Breach of fiduciary duty lawsuits (whether for the breach of the duty of care or loyalty)
- Disputes between business partners
- Shareholder disputes
- Intellectual property lawsuits
- Business defamation cases
- Unfair competition
The Risks of Possible Business Litigation
No matter what is at stake, practically all business lawsuits include:
- It costs money to take a lawsuit all the way through the process and to trial
- Business litigation can be distracting, and it can take your attention away from revenue-generating activities
- Lawsuits can lead to negative publicity for your company
- You have large potential legal risks that can include significant financial losses if you lose the case
You May Need to Resort to Litigation
This is not to say that you should always avoid business litigation at all costs. There may be some times when litigation is an absolute must, and there is no way around it. This does mean is that you should look to hire an experienced attorney to handle the entire process. While your lawyer will involve you in all litigation to an extent, they will lead the way and deal with the details. Your lawyer’s help will free up your bandwidth to handle other necessary business affairs.
You Must Think Strategically When You Are in a Dispute
Business litigation does not occur in a vacuum. Lawsuits usually happen after a protracted dispute, where two parties have a prior relationship. At some point, they begin to disagree, and the situation can degenerate. In other words, lawsuits do not occur overnight with little warning (although that has happened on occasion).
When things begin to sour between you and another party, you need legal advice at the beginning of the dispute because:
- You might avoid a lawsuit altogether
- You want to be in the strongest legal position if your case does eventually go to trial
The right business litigation lawyer can give you a professional perspective on what might happen and what you need to do to resolve the dispute. They can also advise you whether you need to retain their services at that time.
A legal consultation will remove much uncertainty from the situation, relieving your concerns and allowing you to focus on the business, while your lawyer focuses on the legal dispute.
Alternatives to Business Trials
Very few cases actually go all the way to trial. Most cases resolve in some fashion before they reach a bench or jury trial. Some disputes do not even reach the point where one party files a court case.
When you have a business litigation lawyer, they will help you work on your overall strategy. One way that they can be especially helpful is by helping you resolve the dispute. You might reach an understanding with the other side after you each communicate your positions to each other. Your attorney can draft letters, or they can speak with the other party’s attorney in an effort to end the disagreement. You can modify your contract or reach a supplemental agreement to handle your differences.
Alternative dispute resolution mechanisms may solve your problem before litigation, including:
Start Thinking Strategically Early
At the same time, how you act when there is a dispute can impact your legal rights if your case goes to trial. You might make critical legal mistakes that can harm your position. For example, if you acquiesce to certain wrongful behavior, you might face accusations that you waived your legal rights. You might also end up putting something in writing or saying something that can damage your position. The sooner you contact a lawyer, the more quickly they can give you the guidance you need to begin preparing for possible litigation.
Take Strong Action When You Face a Lawsuit
The time immediately before and after the filing of a lawsuit is crucial. If someone else has filed a case, you do not need to just play defense. You can also file your own counterclaims against the plaintiff. However, you have limited time to file your answer and counterclaim. A business litigation attorney will review the situation and the case against you to determine whether there are claims that you can assert. They will also determine whether you can go on offense with a motion to dismiss the case in its entirety.
Business Litigation Involves a Complex and Lengthy Process
The business litigation process itself can be long and complex. These cases can take years to resolve, from the beginning of the dispute until the court hears final appeals. Many people think that business lawsuits are won or lost in the courtroom. That is only true to an extent. By the time you get to the courtroom, you might have spent months or years building your case to present to the jury.
Discovery Is Often the Most Crucial Part of the Business Litigation Process
The truth is that most business litigation cases are won or lost in discovery. The evidence that each party can accumulate from the other party will determine the overall strength of your case. The other side will not willingly give you the information you need, even though they are under a legal obligation to do so.
To build the strongest case in discovery, you need a lawyer who knows how to fight the battles necessary at this stage of the case (and there will be many skirmishes throughout discovery).
Strategy for Business Litigation Discovery
Effective discovery involves:
- Knowing which questions you need to ask to yield relevant and helpful evidence
- Properly structuring the questions that make them the most effective (and to blunt objections that the other side will raise)
- Preparing you to produce the documents that you need to in response to the other side’s requests
- Persuading the judge to compel the other side to produce documents when they are raising objections or not being cooperative
- Rapidly sifting through potentially millions of documents to find the evidence that is most helpful to your case
- Effectively structuring deposition questions for the other party’s witnesses and defending you from improper questions when you are sitting for a deposition
Discovery requires an intentional and detailed strategy that you must consider well before the process begins. A business litigation lawyer has experience with this stage of a business case. You should not think of discovery as a tedious part of the process that you must get through to reach trial. Instead, it is the critical building block of each side’s case. You can win or lose your case by the time the discovery process concludes.
While you need an attorney who knows how to litigate, many cases never end up in court. A business litigation attorney lends pragmatism and strategic experience to your case.
Position Your Business for the Best Possible Settlement
Often, all the pre-trial skirmishes and processes lead to reaching the best possible settlement in your case. Both you and the other party have potential risks if your case goes to trial. There is a reason why some call business lawsuits “bet the company” litigation. Between the cost and the potential legal risk, you have every incentive to settle your case.
A business litigation attorney also lends their negotiation experience to your case. Chances are that you and the other side will discuss a possible settlement throughout the case. You will likely begin settlement talks relatively far apart.
Settlement talks can be long and drag out for months or years. It is not uncommon for the two parties to be far apart and get much closer to a settlement as a trial approaches. Strategy is heavily involved in settlement negotiations. When your attorney is a negotiator and a litigator, you stand the best chance of getting a favorable outcome.
You Cannot Always Avoid Business Litigation Trials
Sometimes you may need to go to trial. In that event, business litigation cases can be very complex. You must synthesize large amounts of evidence and information to make the most effective case. Your attorney will begin with a theory of the case and move forward from there.
The court will not give you unlimited time for your case. You need to present the most compelling evidence in the time you have. Then, you need to make the most effective arguments to the judge or jury (depending on whether it is a bench or a jury trial).
You Need a Lawyer for High Stakes Business Litigation
When your case goes all the way to court, there can be massive stakes. You need an attorney who knows their way around the courtroom and has experience in critical litigation. Your attorney might need to adjust during the trial, depending on what evidence the other side can present. Usually, a good business litigation lawyer will already know your possible weak points before the trial begins.
If possible, you should already have a lawyer who can skillfully litigate cases. This attorney might already work on your other business matters. This capacity best allows you to be ready when you do find yourself involved in a dispute. You will not have to spend time looking for the right attorney and catching them up to speed when time is critical, and delay can harm your legal position.
How a Business Litigation Lawyer Helps You?
An effective business litigation attorney can serve you in multiple capacities, including:
- Reviewing business agreements and relationships to assess and minimize possible litigation risk
- Assisting you in planning ahead to avoid the possibility of litigation
- Helping you communicate when you are involved in a dispute
- Devising the most effective strategy to resolve your disagreement with another party
- Assessing other strategic risks that litigation may pose
- Planning an effective litigation strategy for your entire case
Hiring a business litigation attorney in Chicago does cost money. However, it is far more expensive to do nothing. Your business might even be in jeopardy when you do not hire an attorney in a timely manner.
Spending crucial funds on a business litigation lawyer is often a necessary expense and an investment in preserving the future of your company. Otherwise, you can end up losing a large amount of money.