There is a common and persistent misconception that small business owners and sole proprietors do not need legal counsel. If a legal dispute arises, these individuals will attempt to resolve it themselves or conduct their own legal research and then attempt to represent themselves if it becomes necessary to go to court. An attorney is seen as an expense that yields few benefits but instead increases their costs and increases the length of time it takes to resolve the dispute. Yet these sole proprietors and small business owners have much to lose if their dispute is not resolved successfully and promptly.
Benefits of Retaining a Commercial Litigation Attorney for Your Business
Contrary to the misconception, a commercial litigation lawyer can provide numerous benefits to business owners of any size. A commercial litigation attorney has experience and knowledge in resolving business-related disputes both in and out of court and can oftentimes assist a business owner in resolving his or her dispute more quickly and without needless and costly legal mistakes and missteps. In particular, a commercial litigation attorney should be able to:
- Advise you when your legal rights or those of your business are threatened: Your commercial litigation attorney is available to assist you in understanding your legal rights and when it may be necessary to take action to protect those rights. If a customer or supplier breaches a contract with you, for example, your commercial litigation lawyer can provide well-informed advice regarding what rights you have in this situation and how to protect them.
- File a lawsuit when necessary and follow proper procedures for doing so: There are two types of law: substantive and procedural. Substantive law deals with the rights and liabilities individuals have in various contexts, while procedural law concerns how legal disputes are filed and presented. Procedural law is not unimportant: failing to file your lawsuit within a specific amount of time or not responding to pleadings filed in a timely manner can result in the dismissal of your case or a default judgment being entered against you: both of which can cost you and your business dearly. Commercial litigation attorneys know not only what rights their clients have but also how to file and pursue legal remedies in court on behalf of their clients.
- Help you avoid legal disputes and troubles: Your commercial litigation attorney can not only help you once a legal dispute has arisen, he or she can assist you in avoiding such disputes altogether. By drafting a contract in clear and unambiguous terms, for example, your attorney can help avoid future legal disputes if the other party breaches that contract. Or your commercial litigation attorney can help you understand the risks you run by entering that new business deal or tackling a particular investment project. This can end up saving you and your business considerably more resources than you expend for the attorney’s advice and assistance.
Choosing the Right Commercial Litigation Attorney
There are numerous attorneys in Arizona who identify themselves as “commercial litigation attorneys” – how do you choose the right one for your business? Your business’s commercial litigation attorney should:
- Have several years of experience handling a wide variety of commercial disputes and business issues;
- Have particular experience helping business owners who are similarly situated as you;
- Have a track record of success in representing business owners (while past performance is not a guarantee that your future dispute will be successful, a history of successful outcomes can suggest that the attorney is an effective advocate and will represent your interests diligently);
- Pass your “gut check” – that is, your attorney should make you feel as if you can trust him or her and work well as a team with him or her.
Patrick J. Monahan of the Monahan Law Firm is an Arizona commercial litigation lawyer with experience helping a wide variety of business owners successfully navigate a multitude of legal issues. Contact his office at (623) 385-3190.