Litigation Success: Everyday Practices
For good reason, most individuals shun courtrooms like the plague. Litigation is costly and dangerous. We lawyers are really cool, but let’s face it, there’s only so much time you want to spend with us.
Even if you have a well-intentioned aversion to litigation, you may find yourself in court, forced to resolve a major issue in your life through the courts.
I’ve discovered the following ideas that I feel will assist you get the best possible outcome in your case after more than fifteen years of representing individuals and businesses in litigation. Winning is never assured, but if you’ve done your homework beforehand, your chances are much better.
- “Document” is a noun that can be used in a number of ways.
Documenting events as they unfold is a good personal and professional practice. To win a case, you must be able to reconstruct a sequence of events in your favor. In reality, the party that preserves history the best often triumphs. Even if you did everything correctly, if you don’t have a mechanism to remember or prove what you did, your perfect actions may not result in the desired outcome. So, first and foremost, keep track of significant events and decisions in your life and business so that you can verify what happened when. Make a note of it, type it up, or take a picture of it.
Our may appear to be laborious or time-consuming, but it is not in this digital age. Data may be captured and stored permanently using cell phones, emails, and digital cameras. Make it a practice to save critical documents, photographs, texts, and conversations. Once you’ve mastered the learning curve of comprehending the technology available to you, the rest of the procedure will be much easier to handle and will become second nature to you.
- Understand your obligations
In general, you are bound by two kinds of legal obligations: those imposed by the law and those imposed by you via agreements (“contracts”) with others.
Knowing this, make it a habit to write down any agreement you make, and maintain a signed copy of that writing close at hand. Putting your agreements in writing eliminates most disagreements about what was agreed upon, and written agreements are significantly easier to enforce than oral agreements (bearing in mind that some agreements aren’t even enforceable unless they’re written down—a topic for another blog article).
Then, if and when a disagreement arises, all you have to do is bring out your agreements and examine your obligations and rights under the document. Because a judge or jury must enforce an agreement as formed by the parties in court, your agreements should serve as a roadmap as you consider your options.
- Be sensible in your actions
As previously said, the law forces you to act in certain ways at times in addition to the agreements you make. In most cases, the law requires you to act appropriately, or to do what a thoughtful, reasonable, and cautious person would do in the same situation. So, if you’re confused what to do, assess the circumstance and consider what a thoughtful, reasonable, prudent response would be—one that those thinking, responsible people you like would take. The positions that are the easiest to defend are those that the majority of people would take.
- Take care of any messes that may have occurred.
A single incident or decision might have disastrous consequences on occasion. You may feel compelled to walk away from the mess and pursue legal action in those situations, particularly if the occurrence or choice was fully caused by someone else. The law, on the other hand, demands you to alleviate any harm caused by someone else—to make the most of a bad situation and salvage what you can. That may not always be feasible or inexpensive, but the law does not permit you to do nothing. Even if you did nothing wrong, you can’t allow an entire warehouse full of food go bad because of a malfunctioning piece of equipment.
- Make good legal decisions in a timely manner.
Finally, there will come a time when key legal judgments must be taken. These judgments can include how to move forward strategically at times. It’s not uncommon for those decisions to concern themselves with how to withdraw. And some of those decisions are concerning litigation strategy, such as whether to file a lawsuit, when to file a lawsuit, where to file a lawsuit, and who should be engaged in a lawsuit. These decisions necessitate careful consideration and must be made in a timely manner to be of most benefit. Keep your eyes peeled for these opportunities. Keep an eye out for them and take appropriate action if necessary.
These five suggestions may appear straightforward, but you’d be surprised how far they can get you in court. You’d be surprised at how frequently people fail at these duties, and the sometimes disastrous results that can follow.