Questions to Ask Your Business Litigation Attorney
Sunday, August 14, 2016
No one likes to imagine a time when they’ll face litigation. But in the world of business, it’s a constant possibility. If you find that you need the advice and guidance of a business litigation attorney, it can help to have an idea of what to expect from your working relationship, how your case will likely proceed, and what the potential outcomes are before you dive in head first. During your initial meeting about the case, go over these points with your attorney to ensure you’re well informed and prepared for what’s to come.
1. If your company doesn’t currently retain a lawyer, the first thing you’ll need to do is find a good one. Start by asking why you should hire their firm to represent your case.
Not all attorneys are the same—although all good attorneys strive for the same thing: to expertly represent the interests of their clients—so it’s in your best interest to find an attorney that you can work well with. They should be eager to help you solve your problem in an efficient and cost-effective way. Ask about his or her strategy and perspective about pursuing your goals in order to gain some insight as to whether or not it will be a good fit.
2. Like attorneys, no two cases are exactly alike. So it’s important to find out how strong your case is, and how likely you are to achieve the outcome you’re after, before proceeding.
A good attorney will be honest about your chances of success, but be very wary of a lawyer who tells you that there’s a 100% chance of success—no one can guarantee that.
3. Although all cases are unique, they do all have at least this in common: they have weaknesses. Ask your attorney what those are.
Listen carefully to the answer you get from this question for two reasons: one, you can gain an accurate assessment of the person working on your case—if they can accurately describe the weaknesses in your case, they can work to address them; and two, people never like to hear the negative side of something as emotionally charged as litigation, but you have a much better chance of success when you have a realistic picture of the battle ahead.
4. Pretty much any good business person will know to ask this question right from the start, but it’s worth stating regardless: find out how much your attorney expects it will cost to pursue this case.
This is just good business sense, really. If you’re disputing a huge sum of money, then you have more leeway for what it will cost to pursue the case. If you’re squabbling over a small sum for emotional satisfaction, this could be a wake up call.
Most likely your attorney won’t be able to give you an exact figure, but you should be able to establish a reasonable range to work with.
5. When you work with a large firm it may not be immediately apparent that the person you’re talking to may or may not handle your case. Find out who in the firm will be representing you.
You can’t expect your lawyer to do all the legwork necessary to win a case, which is why it’s often a team effort with associates and paralegals pitching in, but you don’t want to be caught off guard by being won over by one attorney and then be handed off to another after the initial meeting.
6. Whether or not you have a chance for success and the potential outcome of your case are related but not the same. Ask your lawyer what they anticipate the outcome to be.
Although no attorney can answer this question with certainty—especially during the initial meeting—it’s important to discuss the issue upfront. Of course, there are no guarantees, but experienced counsel should be able to give you an idea of what might take place down the road.
If you’re facing or considering the pursuit of litigation, contact us today for an initial consultation. We’ll help you get answers to all of your questions about the likelihood of success for your case.