“Litigation may often be avoided through thoughtful planning, but when litigation becomes necessary, we are more than ready.”
--Joe House, Founding Partner
Before you choose to litigate, the practical realities of litigation must be considered. Litigation, and particularly business litigation is often complex and expensive. It isn't well suited to small problems, and sometimes the time and trouble anticipated is a substantial motivation to get things worked out. But when it becomes your best alternative, there is little point in hesitating. Exerting maximum pressure through zealous prosecution can be very effective. Of course, during the process we will need your full cooperation. However, you may find that, depending on the nature of the case, the amount of your time that is actually required can be surprisingly tolerable.
The initial phase of the case will usually be locating all the existing, relevant documents to be used in your case. Ultimately, these documents will need to be produced to your opponent in the process called "discovery." Discovery is the phase of the litigation where both sides get to ask written and oral questions and request copies of documentary and electronic evidence in order to assist each side in further investigating the case and developing their positions.
This first phase of a suit will typically include explaining underlying history of the transaction to your attorney. This will include explaining the meaning of the documents and evidence, as you see it, to your attorney, so that he can become as familiar with the facts of the case as you are.
The first action typically undertaken is the exchange of the relevant written materials and electronic data with your opponent. It is critical to preserve your documentation to avoid being accused of destroying evidence, which can have extremely negative consequences. At about the same time you will probably be answering written questions submitted by opposing counsel with the assistance of your attorney. Yet another part of the process will be providing oral testimony upon questioning by your opponent's attorney in your attorney's office.
To win, you must be believed.
To be believed, you must be telling the truth.
Throughout the process, from the original description of the transaction you file with the court to the statements you make in writing or during testimony, your credibility will be tested. You need to be ready for your suit to rise or fall on what claims you make and positions you take at every juncture.
Should you get to trial, the jury won't know anything about your case or you, so you will be judged. They will be asking themselves if you are the type of person who can be believed. Your opposing counsel will be asking himself the same thing throughout the process. He will be advising his client as to his opinion of your credibility. If your opponent thinks that a judge and jury will believe you, you will have a great deal of leverage in the litigation.
That is the type of leverage that can get to a resolution much earlier than trial.