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Managing Litigation – Five Key Steps

In part two of our WABComment Insight piece on avoiding and managing litigation, Roxanne Selby explores what to do when litigation is unavoidable, with 5 key ways to best manage the litigation process. 


How can you manage the mental and business toll of business disputes?

Expensive, stressful and time-consuming, you should avoid litigation, if you can.  Court delays and adjournments, unreasonable opponents, and the time needed to comply with court deadlines can take serious mental toll on the most robust.  The longer litigation goes on, the more frustrating and costly it can become.  Some studies have suggested that law firms should provide counselling and mental support for those going through the litigation process.  You will need colleagues and family to support you through the dispute process.

In part one of our WABComment Insight piece on avoiding and managing litigation, Roxanne Selby explores the personal and business toll that litigation can take and five key ways you can work to avoid litigation arising. You can read it in full here.

Yet business disputes will be inevitable.

If you cannot avoid litigation – you have had proceedings brought against you, or you have major matters which you need to resolve – how can you minimise the negative effects of the litigation experience?

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5 ways to manage litigation

  1. Don’t bury your head in the sand.  Take sensible advice from someone who understands your business and how litigation may help or hinder your goals.  Involving legal professionals at an early point can provide mental reassurance and clarity, enabling you to explore avenues to early resolution.
  2. Provide information when requested and seek sensible advice on the merits of your case, so that you can clarify your position at the earliest possible point.  
  3. Keep on top of key deadlines and stages in the court process, and understand which points will be most labour intensive for you (e.g. disclosure, witness evidence) and the tactical opportunities different stages of litigation provide for settlement.  Communicate throughout with your legal team and ask for the practical or mental support you need.
  4. Negotiate.  Often it is possible to resolve disputes by understanding the other side’s goals, considering areas where you might be prepared to compromise, and negotiating.  Consider alternative dispute resolution (“ADR”) such as mediation or roundtable or settlement meetings. 
  5. Be reasonable and try to settle early.  Don’t let your desire to “have your day in court” outweigh years of preparation, the unpredictability of the litigation process, and spiralling legal costs.  Compromising can be a bitter pill to swallow.  But an early commercial settlement can be more cost-effective.  The longer litigation goes on, the harder it can be to settle, as parties want to recover costs sunk on legal fees.  Remember that if you win at trial, you may recover only around 60-70% of what you spend on legal fees. 

Seeking sensible, trusted advice is essential in avoiding and managing litigation. Involving legal professionals at an early point can also provide mental reassurance and clarity, enabling you to explore avenues to early resolution.

Please reach out to Roxanne Selby for more information on how you can best avoid and manage litigation and protect your business moving forward.

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Roxanne Selby is a senior associate in our Litigation and Disputes TeamWe undertake commercial litigation, arbitration and alternative dispute resolution, particularly regarding complex disputes over intellectual property and matters of contractual interpretation. Find out more.

Disclaimer: This article is produced for and on behalf of White & Black Limited, which is a limited liability company registered in England and Wales with registered number 06436665. It is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. The contents of this article should be viewed as opinion and general guidance, and should not be treated as legal advice.

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