This is the first post in a series of blogs presented to you by Pacific Chartered Advisors LLP in collaboration with Hakemi & Ridgedale LLP, a commercial litigation boutique located in downtown Vancouver. The theme of the blog series is minimization of litigation costs. Check back frequently to make sure that you don’t miss any of the upcoming posts.
Tips on How to Avoid Litigation Altogether
Litigation is time consuming and expensive. Not all disputes need to be litigated. Businesses that reduce litigation can save considerable resources. Below are some helpful tips on what you can do to prevent you or your business from having to litigate.
- Be proactive. If you suspect that an issue or a conflict within your business could potentially become the subject of litigation, it is important to address it right away. Consult a legal professional, either within your firm or externally, to help mitigate as much risk as possible and to avoid making costly mistakes. Ignoring potentially litigious issues or waiting too long to address them can have detrimental effects on your business.
- Match the lawyer to the case. Finding the right lawyer for your case is very important as not all lawyers have the same experience or knowledge that is needed to deal with specific situations. Ideally, your lawyer will be familiar with the specific legal issues involved in your case and will be able to give you a good idea of what is to come in the process.
- Determine the issues. Gathering together legal experts from both parties to discuss and come to an agreement about what the issues at hand are can save you a substantial amount of time and money in the long run. Ensuring that both parties are in agreement as to exactly what the issues are can prevent costly confusion and wasted time for both sides. Determine what the core issues are to each party so that everyone fully understands where the conflict lies.
- Consider the other party’s perspective. It can sometimes be beneficial to look at things from the adverse party’s point of view in order to better understand their motivations behind the conflict. This practice can lead to having a more objective and informed view of the conflict and can in turn lead to reaching common ground that helps both parties reach a settlement and avoid litigation. Focusing on the underlying interests of the parties rather than their communicated negotiating positions can often be helpful in fashioning resolution.
- Consider alternative dispute resolution methods. Settling a dispute will prevent the need for litigation and as a result, could save you and your business from having to pay costly legal fees. Attempting to reach resolution with the aid of a mediator can sometimes be helpful. But mediation may not always be available or an attractive option. They take time and cost money, and if the issues are not narrowed and sufficient information exchanged between the parties, the mediation may not succeed. Another option is arbitration, where an arbitrator decides the dispute and makes a legally enforceable award. Arbitration provides a more private forum for the resolution of disputes and it can sometimes be faster and cheaper than litigation in court.
- Have a pre-determined policy for dispute resolution. Implementing a company policy that outlines preliminary alternative dispute resolution options could help you resolve internal issues without needing to go to trial. Having a clearly defined method for resolving conflicts, such as in-house mediation, ensures that efforts are first made to resolve disputes out of court before resorting to litigation.
Stay tuned for the next installment of this series. In the meantime, Hakemi & Ridgedale LLP’s contact information can be found on their website: https://hakemiridgedale.com/