Friday, October 23, 2015, AM | 2 Comments
Business litigation attorneys must educate their clients on the litigation process in the Los Angeles Superior Court
Los Angeles business litigation attorneys deal with breach of contract and other business lawsuits all day, every day.
Sometimes the business lawyers who work on a case are so inured to the daily grind of litigation that they forget to explain the process to the business owner who is facing his first lawsuit.
The business owner has a lot of questions and, often, a lot of anxiety over the litigation process. What will it involve? How much will it cost? And what is going to happen to my business?
The experienced trial attorney will make sure to explain the litigation process at every step of the way.
The Complaint and Summons of Process
The business owner who gets served with a lawsuit wants to know what happens now. The business attorney should set forth the first steps.
A party to a lawsuit typically has 30 days in which to respond to a summons and complaint. The response is usually an answer in which the party generally denies everything.
However, sometimes the response may be a demurrer, which challenges the legal sufficiency of the complaint.
Oftentimes a business owner wants to know why the answer does not set forth his ‘story’ of the case. Why doesn’t it explain why the other party is so wrong and so bad?
The prudent business attorney will explain that the answer is only meant to constitute an appearance and that explanations come later in the process.
Preparing For The Litigation
A client who gets sued often does not know what is expected of him. The trial lawyer should have a letter or email in his arsenal asking the client to gather his documents, search his email, copy his calendar and get all of the necessary photos and documents to the attorney.
The attorney may not think to remind his client to not speak with the opposing party unless the client and the attorney have talked about it and determined a strategy.
The client needs to know not to destroy any evidence and not to send out emails about the litigation to his friends and family.
A client may also not know to protect the attorney-client privilege by keeping attorney correspondence private.
Client in Business litigation lawyers Los Angeles often do not understand the purpose or what is required for court hearings.
The first hearing in the Los Angeles Superior Court is usually the Case Management Conference. It seems simplistic to the business attorney but someone should explain to the client that the client does not need to attend this hearing.
A client is also anxious about his or her case. The trial attorney should remember to touch base with a phone call or an email after each hearing to let the client know what transpired.
After the Case Management Conference the parties will settle into discovery.
The keys to discovery as far as the client are concerned are:
Give the client enough time to answer questions and gather documents;
Prepare the client for his or her deposition—they are anxious about it unless they are constantly in litigation; and
Impress upon the client the need to diligently search for emails and documents—getting surprised later in deposition by a forgotten email can cause many problems.
Like a deposition or trial a client needs to know how the process will work and what is expected of him or her.
Most clients are anxious over whether they will need to ‘present’ to the mediator or talk to the other side.
A client should also know that a mediation often involves long boring waits while the mediator talks to the other side.
An explanation of how a mediation works will set the client at ease.
An experienced business litigation attorney wants to make sure that a client is not surprised.
The client should know why a motion is being brought and what is going to happen at the hearing.
A client does not want to be surprised by a loss or the imposition of sanctions that the client was unaware of.
The trial attorney who wants to keep his client happy should make sure that he is explaining the possible outcomes and the process to the client.
Obviously trial will involve serious preparation and explanation. The client will need to be prepared for his or her time testifying.
If it is a jury trial the client will need preparation on how to interact (or not interact) with the jury.
The smart business litigation attorney knows that a happy client is the ultimate goal. This is best accomplished by winning or resolving the lawsuit.
However, a lot of things happen in litigation before the client will ever even get to that point.
Good communication and explanations of how the litigation process in business lawsuits will help the attorney keep the client happy.
Laine T. Wagenseller handles business lawsuits in the Los Angeles Superior Court and throughout Southern California. He is the founder of Wagenseller Law Firm in downtown Los Angeles and can be reached at (213) 286-0371. Please visit www.wagensellerlaw.com for more articles on Los Angeles business litigation.