NHEH Publications

Three More Tips for Businesses Dealing with Legal Disputes

Recently, I wrote an article called, “Three Tips for Businesses Dealing with Legal Disputes and Litigation,” which discussed the benefits to businesses of increased communication and positive engagement with attorneys regarding cases and legal disputes.  The article also addressed alternative dispute resolution as a way of resolving disputes.  The response to the article was positive, I believe, because people are seeking attorneys who can explain complex issues in understandable terms, apply practical solutions to problems, and understand the human element involved in legal disputes.  

In this article, I will provide three additional tips that may be of use to businesses dealing with legal disputes.

Tip 1: Employ a problem-solving approach

Sometimes, parties involved in a legal dispute take a “scorched-earth” approach.  The parties in those matters can, at times, elevate the conflict above the actual legal issues and expend unnecessary energy, time and money.  Most disputes do not warrant (or require) this type of approach because the disputes involve business problems, rather than hot-button emotional issues.  Employing a problem-solving approach means figuring out how to solve a business problem in the most efficient way possible.  This is good for business clients and the legal system.  And it is less costly to all parties.

I encourage anyone seeking legal services to employ a problem-solving approach.  Ask yourself these two related questions: “What is the problem I am trying to solve?” and “What solutions would be acceptable to me?”  If you think in those terms, you are more likely to reach a desirable outcome.  In my  experience, taking this approach during a dispute gives you an advantage over those employing a scorched-earth approach because you stay focused on your goals and how to get there efficiently.

Tip 2: Keep an open mind

Legal disputes are unpredictable.  Attorneys do their best, but cannot always predict the outcome.  Because of this, keeping an open mind as a client is important.  If you have tunnel vision about what you expect or want the outcome to be, you may end up wasting time and money pursuing unachievable goals.  Further, you may miss the correct path by focusing too much on the path you expected.  As the client, you have decision-making power on overall dispute management.  That input is critical, so it’s extremely important for clients to be open-minded about approach, outcomes and strategy.

Tip Three: Don’t take it personally (even if it is)

At first, the advice to not “take things personally” seems crazy.  You might respond, “Of course it’s personal!  This dispute affects my everyday life and possibly my future.”  I’ll tell you why you shouldn’t take disputes personally.  First and foremost, for yourself and your mental health.  A dispute shouldn’t eat away at you or make you feel bad for prolonged periods of time.  That’s why you hire attorneys like me to help you resolve disputes.   

Second, not taking things personally will help you be more successful in the dispute.  Even when facing unsavory opponents, if you don’t take things personally, you will keep a level head and make better business decisions about resolving the dispute.  Something that seems very unnatural in the environment of legal disputes can actually pay dividends.  


Thinking about how you are approaching a legal dispute from your own perspective will have a positive impact on the outcome.

This article is intended to address topics of general interest and should not be construed as legal advice.
© 2017 Noland, Hamerly, Etienne & Hoss, Nick Smith