Recently I was approached by a former client and asked to handle a piece of commercial litigation for him in Guernsey County, Ohio.
I declined to get involved in the commercial litigation claim, as it made far more economic sense for the former client to engage local counsel. It did not make financial sense to have me handle the matter and travel to Guernsey County repeatedly for a relatively modest dispute.
Instead, I referred the former client to an attorney with offices near Guernsey County to handle the matter.
I also took some time to explain to the former client the need to keep the commercial litigation matter simple if he wanted our recommended local counsel to accept this representation and to thereafter handle it on a cost-effective basis.
Who? What? When? Where? Why? How?
I remember these questions from grade school as guides to help write newspaper articles or other written reports.
Even as adults in the business world, those are good questions to consider and answer before approaching an attorney regarding a commercial litigation matter. You need to know the facts of your case to make sure your attorney has a litigation strategy to handle your matter.
Before approaching an attorney regarding a commercial litigation matter, take the time necessary to carefully identify, locate and assemble all relevant documents. Then summarize all relevant facts using Who? What? When? Where? Why? How?
By carefully preparing the file for the attorney, the client with a commercial litigation claim can save a great deal of attorney time and expense.
Take the emotion out of commercial litigation
An additional point that I made to the prospective client regarding his commercial litigation matter is that things will proceed best if he can calm down. Create a strategy when you can take the emotion out of what is now a commercial litigation matter.
Yes, there is almost invariably a certain amount of emotion that accompanies any commercial litigation matter. We get that, we understand.
But as you approach counsel regarding a commercial litigation matter, it will benefit everyone if you can try to boil the commercial litigation matter down to answering completely and honestly the five questions listed above, leaving the emotional baggage at home.
I realize that not everyone thinks like a lawyer. Maybe that's a good thing!