It’s one thing that all small business and startup companies all hope to avoid: the dreaded time that you have to sue someone or are getting sued. There is a reason why attorneys have garnered their reputations, there are so many lawyer jokes and why Shakespeare said, "First kill all the lawyers." Those hundreds-of-dollars-per-hour fees mount quickly and can weigh heavy on any business owner. So what can you do to avoid these high bills?
1. Make sure your business contracts are solid
In the world of business, relationships should be defined by the terms of a contract. You should have contracts between your business and customers, clients, vendors, suppliers, and employees. These contracts should also be drafted to fit your business specifically too. That way if a dispute arises the terms of the relationship are clearly defined and the situation can be resolved quickly.
2. Be prepared to settle
It’s easy to say but difficult to practice. Settlements are the most cost effective way to resolve a dispute but business owners are resistant to strike these deals. Settlements will always hurt both sides. One side is giving up something they don’t want to give and the other is taking less then they think they deserve. But this is simple business math. You can pay your attorney and might end up paying the other side too or you can pay something to the other side and it’s a guaranteed outcome.
Also, emotions have a tendency to creep into these disputes too. Often these disputes are between parties that had a relationship with one another. This creates extra tension and more of a drive to that “you were right.” This can often delay a resolution and cost you more money.
3. Have a relationship with a business attorney
One of the best ways to save money is to have a trusted relationship with a West Michigan small business and startup attorney. This allows you to go to that attorney and give them the facts and they can formulate the quickest way to resolve the situation. This attorney also has knowledge of your business and what your legal budget is. This can allow him to create a plan that fits within that information.
This relationship can also put the attorney in a better position to be successful too. If your attorney drafted your contracts, developed your company policies, helped with your risk management issues, etc. that intimate knowledge allows him to utilize his own work to resolve the situation. Also, he does not need to take as much time reviewing this material to get up to speed with your operations. This saves time too.
You cannot be a successful business if you operate in fear of litigation. If you are overly worried that a situation is going to arise then you are going to miss out on a lot of potentially beneficial relationships. Kent County Circuit Court has pioneered the specialized business docket and Grand Rapids attorneys are familiar with this change coming to Michigan Courts. If a situation arises, my recommendation is contact a competent business law attorney and push to resolve it quickly.