To Sue or Not to Sue?
Our litigation clients range from pushing for litigation to tactfully trying to avoid it. But there is one thing they all have in common: they’d rather not have to deal with the situation that has brought them to litigation.
Litigation is a bit like an adult version of a grade school fight—if you can walk away reasonably unscathed, that’s probably your best option. If you can’t, you go in swinging. And if you can finish the fight with one punch, you take that swing and walk away.
We can help you survey the situation and make that decision. A great starting point is to consider three things:
- What will it cost for you to walk away?
- What are you risking by litigating?
- What does an acceptable resolution for you look like?
Situations that lead to litigation are often fraught with accusations, condemnations, and a general feeling that the other side should be punished. There is the very human desire that you need to win every argument, every dispute involved in the situation.
But litigation is very rarely personal vindication; the other side isn’t going to apologize at the end. Instead, litigation is resolution through a monetary reward or an injunction. It’s important to focus on whether the likely outcome of litigation for you is worth its cost and expense. People are often surprised what they can, and cannot, obtain from a successful lawsuit.
Benefits of Litigation
If litigation is what is best for you, we can help. We will never pressure you to the courthouse. When litigation is your best option, we will lead you through the litigation process.
Litigation has many good points: (a) it pushes the opposing party(ies) to take the matter seriously; (b) it often drives resolution prior to a trial; and (c) it provides formal rules and a timeline for the conflict.
Litigation is usually a cure for numerous struggles in negotiations: a lack of motivation of the opposition to resolve the matter (particularly when you’re the victim); opposition’s belief that it needn’t resolve the matter because you won’t sue; and opposition’s prolonged delay tactics or failure to focus on the relevant issues.
If you are not willing to litigate, we’ll need other factors to drive resolution. Sometimes that’s as simple as both parties wanting to move on with their lives. Other times, it’s financial or operational interests. But in some scenarios, there may be a point where, without litigation, there is nowhere else to go.
Costs of Litigation
Litigation has its costs too. Most people focus on the financial burden, which is understandable. Additionally, there is the time and attention burden—litigation involves discovery and depositions. This means you’ll have to gather documents that the other side requests, and we’ll work together to request documents from the opposition. The other side may ask to take a deposition with you, or your staff or associates…which is a formal interview that can last anywhere from a few hours to days. And we’ll almost certainly want to take our own depositions.
There are approaches to limit cost by streamlining discovery and depositions, but what needs to be done should be done. Case and trials are often won in discovery.
Is Litigation Right for You?
There is no perfect answer. If you hire our firm to represent you, we will analyze the pros and cons for proceeding with your case—through litigation and short of it. Those pros and cons depend upon numerous factors—the nature of your dispute, your finances, what’s at stake (including the amount you could potentially cover), continuing relationships, and your schedule and intentions. The decision-making process for how to resolve two different cases will never be the same. But if you find yourself in a situation like this, our experience and insight will allow you to make the decision that is best for you.
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