OCTOBER 28, 2020
What Should I Do If I Have a Disagreement With a Business Partner?
If you have a business dispute with a partner, your best approach is to try and settle it quickly and without going to court. Litigation and legal expenses can become very significant if disputes cannot be quickly settled. Even sending demand letters and responses can become costly. I like to recommend three key things to clients when they are facing a dispute with a business partner.
Contact a lawyer that specializes in business entities
First, it is always a good practice to discuss your situation with your lawyer. This discussion shouldn’t be about how you should sue the other party or how you will be sending a demand letter, rather this meeting should be to educate you about some of the legal issues facing the situations. In this attorney meeting, the goal should be to learn what things you can communicate to the other party and which information you should not communicate. Further, it is important for you (and your wallet) to have an attorney that isn’t just going to haul off and sue someone or make the dispute worse by sending inflammatory letters.
Keep communication open during business disputes
Secondly, if you have a dispute that you and your attorney believe can be resolved, keep communication open and keep talking. You should continue to make normal communication with the other party. You shouldn’t begin shunning the party. As you continue to communicate with the other party, make sure you are following the guidelines discussed with your attorney. If you are confident, try to meet with the other party at a mutual location to specifically discuss the situation and possible resolutions. If you and your attorney do not feel the situation is resolvable by continued communication you and your attorney can establish an alternative plan.
Find an agreement between business partners
And Thirdly, consider a meeting between the parties with attorneys present. In this meeting, I suggest you ask the attorneys to mainly allow the parties to communicate their issues and the nature of the dispute. The attorneys can be present to help provide support and input as to how a settlement can be reached. Regardless as to if the attorneys are present in the communication or not, if you reach an agreement, get it in writing and do it as quickly as possible. If the writing gets delayed for weeks it is not uncommon for a verbal resolution to fall apart and never be signed off.
Each situation is different, in some disputes the proposed communication methods may work and in other cases these methods may just not be applicable.
It is understandable that a dispute involving attorneys can increase anxiety. Clients are likely experiencing some uncertainty and don’t fully know how to move forward. What attorneys can do is clearly lay out the options and the possible ramifications to those options. It is our job as attorneys to help calm our clients’ anxiety by helping reduce the level of speculation our clients contemplate.
All of our attorneys have experience running businesses and understand business. This unique trait can help bridge the gap between the needs of business and the needs of the legal system. See all of our business services here.
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