Controlling Costs Of Future Litigation

MARGARET A. GISCH

Partner


Controlling Costs Of Future Litigation

No business can completely avoid litigation – it’s simply a cost of doing business – but there are easy steps that can help control costs of future litigation. By investing a small amount of time and money now, you can improve your business practices and curb future litigation costs at the same time:

Annual Employment Audits.

The employment laws are changing practically month-to-month and impact businesses of all sizes. Even for a company with a dedicated Human Resource staff it is hard to stay on top of the developments. Having employment practices reviewed by an employment attorney once a year will keep company policies up to date, eliminate problem practices, and ensure that you have the best defenses to any employment claims that come your way. The first audit may take half a day or more, but after it is completed, a short annual visit will be all the company needs to feel comfortable with its compliance and be prepared to respond quickly and effectively to any claims that are filed.

Intellectual Property Audits.

You may or may not know that your company has intangible assets. These intangibles often give the company an edge over competitors. But without the proper protection, your employees can waltz out the door with these intangibles and take them across the street to your competitor. By taking certain small but important steps, the company can either avoid losing its intangible assets or prevail in a court action to enforce the company’s rights to the intangibles. An intellectual property audit will identify what assets can be protected and give you tools to protect them.

Records Management Policy.

The cost of litigation is linked largely to discovery. Control your records and you will likely reduce the reach and cost of discovery. To do this, the company needs a Records Management policy which is adopted in the normal course of business (not in reaction to a piece of litigation) and will address the retention and destruction of records regardless of whether the documents are paper or electronic. Combining management, information technology personnel and a retention specialist, the company can develop a comprehensive package that eliminates outdated documents, distinguishes short-term versus long-term record keeping, and dovetails with disaster recovery goals. By having such a policy, a company will have fewer records to produce in litigation.

Training for Management.

As an executive responsible for the direction of the company, you are keenly aware of how important it is to act quickly when a dispute is on the horizon in order to lessen risk and prevent losses. However, by the time news of a dispute reaches your attention, it may already be too late. Through simple training, your management team will know how to identify problematic situations and what to do when they arise.

Please let us know if you would like to investigate one or all of the above strategies to clean up your business practices and to help curb future litigation costs.