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collaboration puzzle piecesLitigation has become a fact of life in modern day business. By its very nature, litigation brings risk and uncertainty, interferes with business operations and customer relationships, and disrupts a company’s ability to plan for the long term. However, litigation, and in particular the type of commercial disputes that commercial litigation law firms handle, does not occur in a vacuum. Rather, it typically stems from some underlying business dispute or other issue that parties often have tried to resolve without success. Whatever the background of the dispute, the decision to bring in outside counsel provides the company with a valuable opportunity to consider the dispute, how it will proceed going forward, and the company’s ultimate goals in resolving the dispute.

To paraphrase a commonly used military phrase, commercial litigation can often be viewed as a business negotiation through other means. That means, however, that the ultimate “success” of litigation should be evaluated in light of the company’s business aims and objectives. Outside counsel can play an invaluable role in helping the company obtain those aims and objectives, but two things are essential for that to occur—(1) early and frank communication between the company and its outside counsel, and (2) an objective and thorough early case assessment as to the risks and probable outcomes of litigation.

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