What Does a Business Litigation Lawyer Do?
Understand how a lawyer can represent your business’s legal needsBy Canaan Suitt, J.D. | Last updated on January 11, 2023
Use these links to jump to different sections:
- What Is a Business Litigation Lawyer?
- What Kinds of Cases Do Business Litigation Lawyers Handle?
- Are There Alternatives to Litigation?
- Questions for a Business Attorney
Any business owner understands running a business is complicated. From starting a business to overseeing daily operations to addressing conflicts with other businesses or customers, many challenges can arise.
The law governing businesses is also complicated. When facing any legal issue for your business, it’s best to get legal help from an expert.
A business litigation lawyer is an attorney who specializes in business law and represents business entities in legal disputes and other legal matters.
This article will explain what a business litigator does and why it’s advisable for a business owner to seek legal help when needed.
“I think before you get to the point of either getting sued or needing to file suit, the earlier you get a lawyer involved in any potential or festering dispute, the more likely you are to get advice on how to handle it,” says business litigation attorney Benjamin I. Fink.
What Is a Business Litigation Lawyer?
Business litigation lawyers are individuals who received legal training in law school, became licensed to practice law in their state or jurisdiction, and specialize in business law and representing business clients.
A business litigation lawyer could be in-house legal counsel at a corporation or could work at a law firm representing a variety of clients.
Depending on the situation, business litigation lawyers may defend the company they represent against a lawsuit or bring a lawsuit on behalf of the company against others.
Litigation is the process of bringing legal action in court. Litigation is probably what many people think of when they think of a lawyer—going to court to argue a case before a judge or jury.
Going to court to litigate is one of the major activities that business lawyers engage in when representing their clients. Business litigation lawyers are business lawyers who specialize in litigation.
However, a lot more is involved in being a lawyer than going to court. Business lawyers also advise their clients on legal issues that arise for the company, sometimes to avoid litigation down the road.
Lawyers can also assist clients in drafting legal documents, including contracts and policies and procedures for the company.
Business law is a broad area of law. Qualified business lawyers are well versed in the laws that apply to their practice, including:
- State and federal statutes
- Case law
Statutes are laws passed by a legislative body at the federal or state level. Case law consists of judicial opinions that serve as precedents in interpreting statutes.
Just as business law statutes in Texas and New York differ, case law also varies from one jurisdiction to another.
A business lawyer in your area will understand the relevant statutory and case law in your state and be able to give you the best representation.
What Kinds of Cases Do Business Litigation Lawyers Handle?
Business lawyers give legal representation to their clients in court and advise on a wide range of legal issues, from business formation to litigation matters.
Some of the most common types of business litigation cases include:
- Breach of contract
- Intellectual property right infringement (including copyrights, patents, trademarks, and trade secrets)
- Breach of fiduciary duty and shareholder disputes
- Employment disputes (wrongful termination, workers’ compensation, wage and hour issues, workplace discrimination, and other employment law-related issues.
- Class action lawsuits, including product liability
- Business torts
- Real estate and zoning issues
Learn more about these types of cases by reading this article.
A business litigation attorney may not specialize in all these areas. However, they will probably have experience in more than one. If you speak to a lawyer who doesn’t have expertise in your particular legal needs, they may be able to refer you to a colleague who does.
For help finding a qualified business lawyer in your area, read this article.
Are There Alternatives to Litigation?
Sometimes, civil litigation is the only option for a company to protect its rights or seek damages for harm to its financial interests.
However, there are alternatives to litigation. Sometimes, these alternative dispute resolution (ADR) mechanisms can achieve a business’s desired results without litigating in court.
Two primary forms of ADR are:
- Arbitration. This is where the parties to a dispute choose an impartial third party to act as an arbiter in the dispute. The arbitration process has similarities with litigation in that both sides present arguments and evidence before someone who will make a binding decision on the matter. The disputants agree ahead of time to follow the third party’s decision in the matter. The benefits of arbitration are that it is less costly and time-consuming than traditional litigation, and the parties have more input into who gets to hear the dispute.
- Mediation. This is another popular type of ADR. Instead of a third-party arbiter hearing evidence and making a final decision for the disputants, a third party helps the parties decide on their own.
Even though ADR is an alternative to litigation, it doesn’t mean you don’t need legal counsel in the ADR process. A lawyer can help you assess if ADR is a good option, and help represent your best interests, whether in arbitration or mediation.
As in litigation, ADR can have significant consequences for your business in resolving legal disputes. Having an expert in business law advising and representing you is essential.
Fink recommends disputing parties to obtain a lawyer as soon as possible.
“A lot of times when I get involved in a case, there are a lot of things that happened along the way that, if I had been involved earlier, I would have advised the company or the client to do differently,” says Fink.
“Recognize that litigation is not good business in most cases,” says Fink. “Companies are in the business of doing whatever they do—they sell a product, a service, that kind of thing. And it’s a rare instance where litigation is going to make them money or improve the company’s bottom line.”
Questions for a Business Attorney
If you are a business owner confronting any legal action related to your business, consider speaking with a business lawyer about your legal problem as soon as possible.
Many business litigation lawyers provide free consultations. These meetings let you get legal advice and help you decide if the attorney meets your business needs.
To get the most out of a consultation, ask informed questions such as:
- What are your attorney’s fees and billing options?
- Do you have particular areas of specialty?
- What legal services do you offer to businesses?
- What are the steps in the litigation process if I take legal action?
- Will my legal issue be resolved quickly?
- Are there good alternatives to going to court?
Once you have met with a lawyer and gotten your questions answered, you can begin an attorney-client relationship.
Look for a business litigation attorney in the Super Lawyers directory to find the right lawyer for your business-related legal issues.
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