It may seem counterintuitive that a litigator works with his clients to develop strategies and policies designed to reduce the risk of litigation and to reduce the expected costs of litigation if it should ever be filed. Terms like “litigation avoidance” and “risk management” like conjure up images of intense standoffs between aggrieved parties on the brink of filing a lawsuit, but that isn’t really the case.
In reality, risk management programs and litigation avoidance strategies are developed long before potential disputes arise. By actively working with our clients and making suggestions based on our real-world experience, we assist clients in implementing solutions designed to reduce the risk of ever seeing the inside of a courtroom. Of course, there are times when litigation is inevitable, and therefore the strategies we assist clients with are also designed to control costs and fees that will ultimately be incurred in litigation.
There is, unfortunately, no ‘magic’ set of policies and strategies that will guarantee a litigation-free future (if there were, we would likely have far fewer excellent lawyer jokes). Every company needs to analyze its own situation, needs, and risk in developing common sense policies to reduce the likelihood of litigation. While there is no one-size-fits-all solution, there are changes that every company can implement to assist with a risk-reduction strategy.
We have extensive experience representing large and small companies in all areas of litigation (such as inter-business disputes, employment litigation, defense of bankruptcy preference and fraudulent actions, etc.) in disputes ranging from several thousand dollars to several hundred million dollars at stake. This exposure to a wide variety of clients and disputes allows us to counsel clients to implement strategies and policies based on actual (not hypothetical) success.
In addition to counseling individual clients, we regularly speak to client and attorney groups on the subjects of litigation avoidance and risk management and also publish a blog (aptly named “I Hate Litigation”) designed specifically to provide practical tips to businesses for the avoidance of litigation and reduction of litigation cost.
Investing in litigation avoidance and risk management can help businesses avoid costly litigation and prevail in matters that must be litigated. Although such strategies frequently are developed in response to a particular problem, businesses should anticipate problems by developing and implementing “best practices” and operational policies. Counsel should be consulted to ensure that the policies and practices comply with applicable legal requirements and observe community standards of reasonableness to maximize their effectiveness.