A proactive step to avoid future business disputes is to hire a business lawyer early in the process—preferably when a contract is being drafted or negotiated. We encourage all of our clients, especially new ones, to allow us to review and make the necessary updates to their employee policies, leases, and other contracts they are using. Oftentimes, contracts are missing important provisions, such as those that provide for arbitration of certain disputes, local venue to ensure that disputes involving out-of-state customers be handled locally, and attorney fees for the winning party.
If a business owner is already fighting over an already drafted contract, they should have an attorney review it so they can be aware of the strengths and weaknesses of their position. In addition, any company that is selling goods or services to less-established companies or startup should try and obtain personal guarantees from one or more of the company’s owners, as this helps ensure that in the event the other company is unable to meet its obligations to our client, , we have additional leverage when enforcing the agreement.
What Should I Do If I Suspect That My Company Will Be Sued Or That We Will Need To File A Lawsuit Against Someone?
If a business suspects that they might be sued or believe they may need to sue someone else, they should contact a business lawyer as soon as possible. It is important to hire a lawyer who regularly handles business law cases—not just any attorney who may not know the ins and outs of a business contract.
What Evidence Is Helpful To Share With My Business Law Attorney?
It is important that the business law attorney have access to all written correspondence (i.e. notes, memos, emails) that pertains to the dispute or the issue at hand. In addition, the attorney may want to speak with everyone involved in the dispute to get a clear picture of the relevant facts.
Clients need to be open, honest, and transparent with their attorney. It is best for the attorney to be aware of the good and bad aspects of an issue as early as possible so that we can help our client make well-informed decisions. Some people want to avoid telling their attorney anything negative, but the sooner we know about the negative information, the better equipped we’ll be to deal with it.
What Are Alternative Resolution Methods To Business Litigation Matters?
A common alternative dispute resolution method to business litigation is mediation. Informal mediation involves the parties and their attorneys trying to talk through the dispute among themselves to try and reach a resolution. In formal mediation, both sides hire and generally split the cost of a neutral, third-party mediator who is responsible for receiving briefs from both sides and tries to help the parties reach a resolution. Cases that enter formal mediation settle about 80 or 90 percent of the time and this method is generally more successful than informal mediation. Many business contracts provide for early mediation, which is a good idea. In other cases, mediation should be pursued as a way to avoid expensive and time-consuming litigation.
Another alternative dispute resolution method is arbitration, which is a formal legal process that is handled through a private arbitrator rather than in court. There are several reputable arbitration providers and I definitely recommend arbitration when an employee is suing our client (the employer). In part, this is to avoid a jury trial, where the jury may be more sympathetic to the individual employee than the business. In arbitration, there is no jury; there is usually just a single arbitrator making the decision based on the facts of the case and the law that applies. Arbitration is usually less costly than litigation in court and is private rather than public. It is important to note that arbitration cannot be forced on another party unless there is an arbitration provision in the contract or employment agreement signed with the other party.
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