Litigation can be a costly, time-intensive and stressful experience. Whether you are bringing a claim or defending yourself against one, resolving a dispute through the courts can distract you from growing your business, taking a toll on your bottom line and your well-being.
From 2015 to 2020, U.S. companies spent a total of $22.8 billion on litigation. With the financial, reputational and business stakes being so high litigation should always be a last resort with efforts being made to avoid litigation or resolve them effectively when they arise. This article will outline a few tips to help your business avoid litigation.
Here are Tips to Avoid Litigation
Create Clear Written Agreements
Written agreements should be in place to address all aspects of your business dealings with others. The basis of many disputes centers around what the parties’ agreed upon and the interpretation of contractual clauses. To avoid such issues arising, make sure your contracts are clear and understandable. The less ambiguous you are with your terms of business the less scope there is for these terms to be open to interpretation and, therefore, possible dispute. A clearly constructed contract will let each party know their respective rights and responsibilities in the event that a problem arises.
It is important to have such agreements professionally drafted to ensure all key areas are covered and make sure you read and understand the terms before signing. Similarly, seek advice on any agreements you are asked to enter into with third parties such as suppliers or partners. For advice on a broad range of litigation issues ranging from real estate to corporate law, consider requesting a consultation from GLG LLP lawyers.
Avoid aggressive and intimidatory stances and try to compromise, where possible. Often a problem can be nipped in the bud through a friendly phone call to understand the issue and arrive at an amicable solution. If you receive a complaint about your goods or services an explanation or apology may be the best course of action. Acknowledging reasonable grievances from customers or third parties is always advisable. In addition to avoiding an escalation of the dispute and potential reputational damage this can also increase your chances of gaining repeat business.
Miscommunications can occur in business and memories can fade with time. It can help to keep a record of important communications and business dealings. These can be relied on in the future if need be to clarify any possible disputes or confusion.
Consider Alternative Dispute Resolution Methods
Litigation is often the last resort where the channels above have not been properly exhausted and communications have broken down leading to an adversarial approach between the parties. However, even in instances where a dispute cannot be adequately resolved alternatives to litigation can still be explored.
Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) methods such as mediation, collaborative law and arbitration offer parties the chance to achieve a mutually beneficial solution and have the added benefits of being private, less costly and confrontational, as well as quicker than litigation. ADR may not always be possible, but is worth considering as a way of resolving issues which may arise and enabling you to reach a fair agreement for all involved.
By following the tips in this article, you can avoid the chances of litigation arising and instead, focus your time and resources into developing your business.