Collaborative Professionals of the Shenandoah Valley

Collaborative Process in Commercial Disputes

Imagine that you have a dispute involving your business. Your lawyer advises you to initiate a legal proceeding to protect your rights. In deciding to litigate, you have started down the often long and expensive road of adversarial dispute resolution. 

After months (or even years) of delays and the unavoidable disruption to your business in terms of making you and your staff available for hours of questions, depositions, responses to subpoenas, and discovery, along with the considerable expense (legal claims sometimes cost more to litigate than they were worth in the first place), your case is finally scheduled for court. At the end of that process, the problem is brought before a third party (a judge or jury) who does not know you, your business, or anywhere nearly as much about the problem as you do. Effectively, you have told that person: "please sort this out for me but do it with only these limited set of facts that may not take into account my real interests."  Consider the even more likely scenario that after all this time and expense, the case settles.  Although it depends upon the particular jurisdiction, in federal court cases, over 98% of cases are now resolved prior to trial. 

Consider whether this would be a better process:

You meet around a table with your lawyer, the other party, and their lawyer and talk frankly and openly about your dispute and what is in the best interests of your respective businesses.  Rather than just taking positions for the sake of taking positions, you are allowed to look at the big picture and to control and structure a resolution that fits your particular situation as well as the other party.  You do this through a series of confidential meetings, the agendas of which you and the other party design yourselves, where you are supported by your lawyer in coming up with creative and tailored solutions.  

Collaborative Practice recognizes the reality that nearly all civil cases eventually settle.  However, rather than engaging in expensive and time-consuming discovery and procedural jousting, Collaborative Practice focuses on the core issues in a process that is individually designed for the parties' business interests and needs.  

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