As a business owner, you may see another company’s (or a customer’s) threats to sue as simply a temper tantrum that shouldn’t be acknowledged. While this may be true, these threats invariably turn into actual lawsuits. As you may already know from being in business, the more time and attention you give to a lawsuit, the less time you are focusing on your business. This can’t be good for your bottom line.
Fortunately, only a small percentage of all lawsuits end up before a jury. Even before a case is presented before a judge at summary judgment, chances are that you will be invited to (or ordered to attend) a settlement conference. It is as these meetings that the parties are expected to get to the heart of the dispute so that it may be resolved. This post will provide some helpful tips so that you can be prepared.
Understand your attorney’s role – You may have hired your attorney for his or her bravado and ability to persuade judges and juries in protecting your interests. In a settlement conference, the lawyer does not necessarily argue law and fact. Instead, he or she advises you on how a settlement may work and advise you on whether it would be in your best interests.
Know your nuisance calculation – Basically, you should know how much it would cost to settle the matter as opposed to continuing with litigation. Sometimes a bird in the hand beats two in the bush.
Leave your emotions at the door – Indeed, you may be mad about being dragged into court on a frivolous claim. However a settlement conference is typically not the venue to give into your emotions and draw a line in the sand.