Beware what financial danger lurks when you ask your lawyer to be “More Aggressive” with your case!
There are many ways to pursue a dispute, with aggressiveness on one end of the spectrum and collaboration on the other end of the spectrum. It is understandable, due to the personal nature of any dispute, that the desire for instant satisfaction or timely resolution to the problems at hand is very important to any client. However, many clients are unaware that aggressive and collaborative options generally come with very different price tags.
Being a seasoned attorney for over 25 + years, I routinely have to have the discussion with my clients regarding “aggressive” and “collaborative” representation. The catalyst for the majority of these discussions is that clients become frustrated with the time involved in trying to “talk” matters out with the opposing party and their attorneys. The misconception is that aggressively jumping in with both feet, filing a lawsuit, and compelling the other side to respond will speed up the process and at the end of the day, cost less.
I agree that being very aggressive can sometimes, but not always, see faster resolution to a matter. This may be because the other side simply doesn’t want to deal with the situation at hand or your attorney is able to leverage the courts to help maintain a timely schedule. However, this tactic is SIGNIFICANTLY more expensive, because it requires much more work. More motions to the court. More hearings. More back and forth with the other side. If the opposing party consists of aggressive attorneys, then you need to spend even more time and more expense staying ahead of them so they are on the defense and you’re on the offense. It’s not always faster, though, because there are a lot of procedures and rules around when and how responses occur. It is not unheard of for “aggressive” court cases to take years to conclude.
“Collaborative” is the flip-side of being aggressive. It can take longer, but not always. Bottom line, it is a LOT LESS EXPENSIVE, because the lawyers involved are doing only the work that is necessary to assert the client’s rights and work on the forward momentum of the case. The collaborative option can be faster in many instances, because lawyers can operate outside the time requirements of litigation.
Look, virtually nothing about being a party to a dispute is fun. Certainly, there is a lot to be said about the cathartic nature of “putting the screws” to someone who has harmed you, your business, and ultimately your livelihood. However, like with any emotional situation, it is best to take a moment to pause, putting anger to the side and consider what a realistic, positive outcome looks like for you. If the ultimate goal is to come out on the other side of a dispute with your business and assets still in tact, I would strongly recommend that you start a collaborative process. It will require you to be patient. However it may very well resolve all the issues at hand before having to utilize more aggressive options.
Alternatively, if you find yourself in a place where you require aggressiveness from the get go or as a result of failed attempted collaboration, make no mistake- there are many brilliant attorneys out there who specialize in aggressiveness. Just be aware it will most likely be both a costly and lengthy process.
Are you in a situation that will require a solid strategy to resolve? Visit our business attorney consultation page and set up a time to talk with one of our licensed business attorneys. We will listen to the details of your specific situation and will help you come up with a game plan on how to move forward- aggressively or collaboratively.
Author: Larry Donahue
Larry Donahue is an attorney and founder of Law 4 Small Business, P.C. He is licensed to practice law in Illinois, New Mexico and the US Patent and Trademark Office.