Litigation is stressful, time consuming, and expensive. It can also cause a distraction from business, and hence should be avoided at all cost. As per Judge Charles Burns, if it is not possible for people to avoid litigation, or they have been sued or absolutely need to sue, they must try to resolve the litigation as fast as possible. The longer this litigation goes on, the most costly and frustrating it can become.
Judge Charles Burns marks a few tips that can reduce the risk of litigation
Avoiding litigation is an important risk management strategy for businesses of varying types and sizes. Even though disputes can inevitably arise in the course of business, entrepreneurs and their employees should be aware of the risks that might eventually lead to disputes, and try to create strategies to avoid them.
Here are a few tips that can be helpful in reducing the risk of litigation
Develop an understandable and clear agreement: Creating agreements that are clearly and concisely written can seem to be obvious, but it is not uncommon for even extremely sophisticated parties to enter into incomprehensible, inconsistent, or confusing agreements. Senior business professionals commonly agree on the contractual basics like delivery date, product, and price, thereby leaving the rest to others to complete. In the process, poor drafting or contractual boiler plate, may make contracts more complicated to understand and interpret. Contracts have to be clear and understandable so that they are interpreted accurately and effectively. It is wise to spend enough time in preparing agreements properly to steer clear of uncertainties and the risk of litigation that comes with that ambiguity.
Obtain legal advice: In the opinion of Judge Charles Burns, even what might appear to be just a routine agreement must always be reviewed by a lawyer. The lawyer can have constructive recommendations that are useful in avoiding any potential disputes down the line. For any business, it is always worth investing a bit at the outset to avoid incurring a much greater expense later on avoidable litigation.
Follow agreements: A lot of well-established and reputed parties very often fail to follow their own agreements. Even though they might spend days or weeks negotiating detailed terms, they just end up putting the agreement into a cabinet and follow basic industry practices instead of the specific terms of the contract. For instance, a party might choose to purchase orders or change orders because that is their practice, even if the relevant contract calls for other requirements. Hence, it would be a prudent move to create contract summaries or lists of procedures underlined in the contracts while the contractual procedures are still fresh in mind.
Engage counsel to invoke privilege: Communications between a lawyer and client are subject to privilege as a general rule. Whenever a serious concern comes up, it is vital to invest enough resources and time to deal with the situation in a way that will reduce the risk of litigation. It can be a good idea to engage counsel to get advice and cloak the investigation with privilege.
In many situations, business disputes become almost inevitable, but litigation is not. The tips discussed above can go a long way in enabling people to avoid litigation and focus time, energy, and money on productive business activities instead.