A company, its principals, and their legal counsel involved in business litigation in any form should ask themselves questions regularly, such as:
1. Why are we in the lawsuit?
2. What are the business causes and objectives of the litigation?
3. What are we trying to achieve?
4. What has happened and will potentially occur in the case?
5. What are the prospects for a positive result?
6. What are the pluses and negatives of our case- and the opponent’s case?
7. Is the lawsuit worth prosecuting or defending?
8. Do the possible benefits justify the expense, risks and diversions of time and resources?
9. What, if any, are the alternatives to litigation, such as settlement, to achieve acceptable business results?
This list is illustrative, not complete.
The object is to prevent “litigation drift.”
Cases can take months or years to reach trial or a settlement.
The attorneys’ fees, costs and expenses of the litigation often are substantial.
Business counsel need to communicate regularly with their clients about where the case stands and what is ahead, to the extent they can be predicted or at least evaluated.
A client has the right to expect such information from their counsel.
An introductory meeting and then communications about particular events, such as depositions, hearings or trial, can leave the client wondering how they got into the case and where it is going.
A client should insist that their attorney provide them regularly with information, such as answers to the questions above, so the client can make an informed decision whether to file, proceed further or settle (if possible) the lawsuit.
Patients in surgeries have the right to make informed decisions.
So do business parties in litigation and otherwise in legal matters.