Experienced Portland or Seattle business dispute attorneys will tell you the same thing: planning for litigation before it occurs is the best way to effectively litigate a business dispute.
Not all business law firms are created equally. Some (I won’t name names) pile layers of lawyers on layers of lawyers. A junior associate reviews a document and drafts a memorandum for a senior associate who reviews the document and memorandum before passing it on to a junior partner. This process continues up the ranks until the memorandum and document arrive on the desk of a $450/hour senior partner who starts the process all over again.
Even though not all business law firms in Seattle and Portland function this way, even the most efficient firms can’t avoid this basic litigation reality: discovery and document management is expensive.
Document discovery is the process of exchanging relevant documents about your business, employment or real estate dispute with your opponent. In a document intensive case, this can means thousands (sometimes tens of thousands or, yes, even hundreds of thousands) of pages that need to be reviewed and produced to the opposing side. An email search alone can yield ten thousand messages, even in relatively small cases.
This is where you, the client, come in. Most of my Portland business law clients know that proper record keeping is a good business practice. But proper record keeping done with an eye toward efficient litigation, if necessary, can save you thousands and thousands of dollars if a dispute arises.
We aren’t suggesting that you build your record keeping system around the eventuality of litigation, but we are suggesting that sitting down with your Seattle or Portland business lawyer and talking about little tips for user friendly and litigation friendly record keeping may just be money well spent.