You’ve worked so hard to build a successful business in Lubbock and Amarillo and have overcome every obstacle imaginable. You have watched the bottom line, controlled expenses, and very carefully expanded your business to finally show a profit. All of those 14 hour days are paying off, right? That is, until you receive a certified letter which was timed to reach you on December 31, 2015! Happy New Year!
Your largest client is claiming that your company’s services were deficient and that no further payment will be tendered. Problem is, this client is your largest receivable and you have already sunk over 60K in expenses into the deal to boot. Suddenly, the rosy financial outlook for 2016 looks exceedingly glum. Who do you call? It’s time to saddle up and find an experienced litigation gunslinger to come to your assistance. However, unlike the John Wayne movies of old, litigation does not resolve itself with the finality of a brawl in the ole town square – although it may feel that way! Here are a few tips when you need to fire the first litigation shot in Lubbock, Amarillo, or West Texas.
Find Yourself an Experienced Gun Slinger
It’s easy to pull the trigger on litigation by threatening a lawsuit and filing the court papers in Lubbock or Amarillo District or County Court. However, as I often say – “the Good Lord created the bell curve and not everyone is far right of center”. Critical to your success in the coming litigation battle is to find yourself an experienced Lubbock or Amarillo litigator who is familiar with the court and has handled the “specific” dispute you are dealing with. An excellent source for finding a good lawyer is to check www.lawyers.com which provides a link to litigation attorneys in Lubbock or Amarillo (or anywhere else) with details on the lawyer, years of practice, specialty, and rating. The latter factor is important as a rating service – Martindale Hubbell (lawyers.com), provides a rating for all attorneys in a variety of key areas including experience, client satisfaction, and efficiency. The ratings are based on reviews which come back from professional peers in the community and also the judiciary. Shoot for the “AV” rating if you can as that is the most precise measure of lawyer ability and exceedingly difficult to obtain. Not to be self-serving, but guess what rating the Moster Law Firm has received from Martindale Hubbell – www.youtube.com/watch?v=-o6QPu6IZBw
1. Find out the bottom line on how good your claim is. There is no question that you are irate and feel that your client has disrespected you and your business. You delivered the goods and he/she came up short. That said, what you might think is an excellent basis for a lawsuit in Amarillo or Lubbock may not hold up in court. An experienced Lubbock or Amarillo attorney will advise you on whether the facts are in your favor and what your chances are to recover. Beware of an exceedingly rosy assessment right off the bat as litigation is NEVER a slam dunk. Ask your potential attorney what defenses, if any, your adversary can come up with to defeat your claim or make it exceedingly complex and costly to win. Push hard for some probability as to success. Most attorneys will avoid making any prediction as to the probability of success and there is nothing wrong with that. A very small minority of attorneys will tell you what your probability of success might be. The Moster Law Firm is one of those law firms.
2. It’s all about cost/benefit. This is the big question. Yeah, your Lubbock or Amarillo lawyer says you might win, but what will it cost in dollars and time away from your business to get to the finish line? That’s critical. The process of litigation from the filing of a lawsuit to trial is exceedingly complex, long, and COSTLY. If it will cost you 100K to recover a 60K claim, your course of action is a no brainer. It really is that easy and if a prospective lawyer is not up front with you – “run for the nearest exit door!”
3. Communication skills. Make sure your Lubbock or Amarillo lawyer can explain the pros and cons of your case in plain English. A good lawyer should be able to make the most complex case comprehensible to the client. A lawyer lacking in good communication skills can be dangerous as the client will not be able to fully understand the cost/benefits of the case and make an intelligent decision. Big words and legal terminology do not make a good lawyer. It you have no idea what the lawyer is talking about (although he/she may seem articulate an intelligent) – “run for the nearest exit door!”
Litigation is not as simple as pulling the trigger. Do your best to assess the skills of your litigation gunslinger, the validity of the target, and how costly it might be to finish the battle.