It’s natural that in business, dispute arises as in any relations. However, its the right approach, which helps not only resolve it but may work in the best interest of all concerned.
Your approach to dispute resolution is the key. You may want or advised to be a combative ie. win-lose approach or a win-win approach, based on principled negotiation. Can you do or have some one who can do for you – sincere conversation with other side in a way that is not demeaning yet convey the concerns or address the issue? Willing to consider perception of your counter part? With such approach other side may be pleasantly surprised and you can work together to resolve the disputes / issue at hand, without going to the court.
Remember that conversation is the key. Some times, it is best left to lawyers to initiate conversation and gather facts. Understand your and counter part’s strength and weaknesses. And while discussing with counter part, expect that there may be different perception for the facts than yours. Also, you may have found objective criteria for resolving disputes, do not expect that counter-part will accept it. Instead, work with counter-part to appreciate different perceptions to facts, discuss and work on objective criteria and jointly arrive at decision.
Consider the following:
- Dispute need not be responded by looking / perceiving as dealing with antagonist or adversary.
- Excessive decision making powers not to be given to law firms / lawyers. Remember, lawyers have financial incentive to take matter to court or arbitration, especially if they are paid on hourly basis.
- Is your lawyer willing to act as negotiator or Advocate in mediation? Does he possess necessary skills and experience?
- Personal traits and skill of lawyer matters. Some lawyers may be more comfortable in the role of courtroom battle than they would be in negotiating, keeping in mind interest of business and all concerned.
- Understand from lawyers – range of options with time and cost associated with each. Also, ask for chances of success of each options after spending that much time and cost.
- If your lawyer humours out on negotiation, mediation or out of court settlement – particularly where dispute is not of criminal nature – consider to hire a new counsel.
- Do not expect that lawyer will do negotiation and out of court settlement at the cost of her / his fees. Instead, agree in advance on the fees on objective criteria linked to, say, novel idea of win-win solutions, resolving quickly, and/or maintaining / continuing business relation with disputing parties – irrespective of successful settlement of dispute happens or not.