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A Reminder About Attorney's Fees Provisions in Business Disputes

Business litigation is expensive.  

While most are aware of this fact, the actual cost can shock many business clients.  In fact, there are times when the costs outweigh the damages sought.

“There was an obvious breach of contract but because I was only damaged by $15,000, I can’t go after these guys? Really?” - I get this question all the time.  Of course you can take a stand on principle, but as many business dispute lawyers in Seattle or Portland will tell their clients, it isn’t very economical in those circumstances.  The solution is a well-written, structured contract that is up-to-date, relevant and includes an attorney’s fees provision.  

Attorney fees provisions state that if you have to sue for breach of contract, you are entitled to recover from the breaching party all of the legal expenses you had to pay to enforce the contract.  Sound obvious?  Certainly to some of my clients it is, but not to all of them.  You would be surprised just how many contracts come across my desk—even from sophisticated and very experienced clients—that don’t have this very basic and fundamental protection.  

Even if your contracts include an attorney fees provision, you need to ensure the clause is tightly drafted.  Certainly not a gamble I would want to take when one seemingly tiny paragraph can be the difference between you facing a large bill instead of the breaching party.  

If you have a contract or are about to enter into a contractual relationship, make sure you talk with one of our Oregon or Washington business attorneys.  Investing in a well-written contract in the beginning could save you significant amounts of money at the end. 

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