Companies locked in the litigation pressure cooker can experience financial meltdown as the opposition turns up the heat. An abusive yet common litigation tactic is to force settlement by causing the adversary to incur heavy attorney fees in discovery and pretrial motion practice. Here’s some of the fastest financial resource burners:
- Written Interrogatories – These are written questions about your defenses and claims. Company staff can spend days working with Attorneys preparing carefully calibrated answers.
- Document production – Discovery requests force you to review and produce thousands of pages of business records and emails. It’s imperative that your attorney review everything produced. Producing documents can take weeks or monthss.
- Discovery Motions – If the opposition isn’t satisfied with what you produced in the way of documents, or wrote in reply to interrogatories, they launch motions to compel discovery. Your attorney will burn precious time opposing legal arguments.
- Motions in Limine – As you approach trial you get bombarded with motions in limine packed full of technical legal arguments for the exclusion of the documents and testimony you need the judge to hear. Again, your attorney must file written oppositions to these motions which may require legal research.
- Motion for Summary Judgment – This is the H-bomb of motions. These things can wipe out your case short of trial if your adversary can show there is no disputed issue of material fact for trial. With so much at stake your attorney may be working overtime to gather the legal authority, formulate legal arguments, and attach supporting documents as exhibits.
- Pretrial Hearings – If any of the motions described above cannot be resolved on the papers, the judge can hold a hearing. It’s a sort of a mini-trial before the main event. Your attorney can spend days preparing for hearings and arguing in court.
When the heat is on billable hours explode. The only chance a financially vulnerable company has of surviving the litigation pressure cooker is through the conservation of resources. The dilemma is that traditional law firms, charging by the billable hour, are cost prohibitive. Forecasting legal costs is generally impossible when legal services are rendered under this model. Historically there have been few alternatives to outsourcing litigation to traditional law firms.
Fortunately for the client-consumer, today there are a growing number highly skilled attorneys breaking ranks with traditional law firms. Some of them are delivering legal services at the client’s corporate office as temporary inhouse staff. The attorney can earn a good salary while the client pays a fraction of what a brick and mortar law firm would charge.
During litigation having an onsite attorney can also be a huge strategic advantage. The lawyer has immediate access to files and people with knowledge of the facts. The lawyer becomes more personally invested with the client. The client observes the lawyer at work and gains a better understanding and appreciation for what goes into a lawsuit. Perhaps the greatest advantage is that attorney fees are less and remain fixed for as long as the services are required. This allows the company to accurately forecast legal fees.
If your company is in the litigation pressure cooker look for ways to conserve financial resources. There are a growing number of law firms offering inhouse legal services. InSource Law, based in Reno, is helping clients survive the litigation pressure cooker by working directly with company staff as temporary inhouse counsel.
Lead Attorney & Owner