Applying Lessons From The Boardroom To The Courtroom: Managing Your Lawsuit Like A Business Project


by Pat Brookhouser

Brookhouser, Patrick
pbrookhouser@mcgrathnorth.com
(402) 341-3070

As a business executive, you dread time-consuming and costly lawsuits.  There is good news: By managing a lawsuit like a business project, you can get control of the lawsuit and reduce costs.  Here are five tips that will help you:

  1. Quickly obtain enough information to help you make decisions.  Have your lawyer provide you with an early assessment of the case, so you can decide on a strategy before you incur significant legal fees.
  2. Minimize legal fees during any settlement negotiations.  If you decide to settle the lawsuit, have your lawyer minimize the lawsuit’s cost and distraction during settlement negotiations.
  3. Explore a business resolution.  In business disputes, consider having executives from each side negotiate off-the-record, without lawyers.  If the executives agree on a deal’s key terms, then the lawyers can document the legal details.  When this approach makes sense, it reduces legal fees and recognizes that executives often negotiate more practical solutions when lawyers are not involved.
  4. Develop a cost-effective strategy for trial and appeal.  Balance costs and benefits to decide whether you want your lawyer to look under every rock or just focus on the boulders.  Decide whether it is worth spending money on pretrial motions, or whether to skip the motions and allocate those resources to developing the most powerful presentation possible for trial.
  5. Streamline trial preparation.  Have the most knowledgeable business person help identify the key documents, witnesses, and facts.  Spending that time will produce an extremely high return on investment.  All lawsuits boil down to a relatively small number of crucial documents and witnesses, so the faster you and your lawyer focus on that important evidence, the better.

In many ways, a lawsuit is like any business project that ends with a persuasive presentation.  Recognizing that, McGrath North and its business clients have worked together successfully in many cases using the five tips above.  In the right case, many other project management techniques can be helpful to you.  The important point to remember: You can save money and get control of your next lawsuit by managing it just like you manage a business project.

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