How to Best Prepare for Litigation
by John W. Schuster of Caliber Law, s.c. 920.292.0000
Clients ask me all the time what steps they should take when they are about to sue someone or have just been sued. Here are some key tips on getting yourself ready for a potential lawsuit that will save you time and cost:
1. Get Organized. You have a duty to preserve any and all information that may relate to a lawsuit, and printing out all documents, emails, texts messages, and other items related to the case will help you get organized and get everything in front of you. If there are a lot of documents, you can provide them in electronic format to your attorney, but save the attorney time by organizing the documents by type, date or some other system that might be useful in understanding the documents.
2. Create a Detailed Timeline by Facts. Before you meet with your attorney, have someone on your team with actual knowledge of the event sit down and create a chronological, detailed outline of any and all events that gave rise to the lawsuit. Each line item should list the date of each event – such as a meeting, email or conversation – and then list who may be a witness of each event or list what document you’re providing supports it.
3. Know What You Will Want Out of the Lawsuit. Not every objective in life is monetary, and it is important you express what you would like to get out of the lawsuit so that you can compare it to what your attorney says you are likely to recover and have realistic expectations of what is and what is not actually recoverable under the law. Remember that attorney fees are generally not recoverable in most lawsuits, which is why it is important to understand your rights and what will be available as a recovery in a best case/worst case scenario.
A good attorney will appreciate clients who come in and follow the simple steps above, as it significantly reduces the time the attorney will have to review and get up-to-speed on the file, and most importantly, often results in substantial costs savings to you as the client. This results in both a much more effective attorney on your case, and a happy client when you find yourself pursuing another party, or defending yourself in a claim being asserted against you or your business.
Atty. John W. Schuster, J.D., MBA is the owner and an attorney at Caliber Law, S.C., a law firm located in Oshkosh which specializes in business law and real estate. Schuster helps business owners start, protect, buy, sell and grow their businesses.