The Corporate Law Group

LawSkool

We’re going to wax lyrical here about litigation. It serves a purpose and is a critical component of doing business in about 5% of the cases where it is brought. The other 95% – not so much. Here are the top five things to think about before jumping into the deep end of the litigation pool.

1. It will suck up 25% of your time. And we’re not speaking about the worrying you might do or the time necessary to get ready for trial [then it’s 90%]. We mean you’ll need a good percentage of your time communicating with your lawyers, locating documents, helping answer interrogatories, attending and giving depositions, discussing strategy, etc. If you have better things to do with that 25% think twice.

2. Without a fees clause you’ll pay your layers even if you win. Let me reiterate, your lawyers will be sending you bills and will want to be paid. And even if you win, you will have a hard time collecting those fees back without an attorneys’ fees clause. It’s expensive and you need to make sure you are committed, not just mad, when you file suit. AND if there is a fees clause you might lose and owe the other side the fees they expended. So, think twice.

3. Litigation takes forever. For anything to happen in 60 days is approaching light speed in litigation. Everything requires the other side’s consent in scheduling, at least 30 days notice, and will use up any possible continuances, reschedulings, extensions, and concatenations. You may see trial in two years if you are lucky.

4. Litigation is a war not a battle. You will lose some battles and win some battles approaching trial. The trial is the only thing that really matters. The rest is mostly just getting ready for trial. There are few forums before trial to have the judge rule on anything truly substantive so don’t expect any quick decision squarely on the merits of your case. Sure there may be some relief along the way (injunctions, attachments, summary judgments, etc.) but it is probably not all over until the judge has had the last word at trial. The ups and downs before trial can be disconcerting and exhausting.

5. The truth will out. For goodness sakes litigation is hard enough if you completely believe in your case; if you think your case is shaky don’t waste everyone’s time and your money. If everyone is paying attention everyone will know what happened. Sure, every once in awhile there is an anomaly but don’t count on one happening in your case unless you’ve won two state lotteries in the last three years.

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