Every commercial dispute is a business problem requiring a business solution. The gun for hire narrative has plagued litigators for decades. Clients have used litigators when trouble arises, and once the trouble has been solved, litigators—for the most part—provide no further value to the client. Clients have expanded their interests in what they expect from their attorneys. A major interest that is sweeping throughout boardrooms across the nation is the need for lawyers to do more than just solve disputes. Instead, there is a need for litigators to become business advisers and effective risk managers. Litigators must use the law as a tool to provide value-based solutions to clients’ commercial disputes while also providing risk assessments that provide long-term value to prevent future disputes from arising. In “Winning Legally,” Constance Bagley discusses how the law can be used as a tool to create value rather than be a hindrance. She says, “the legal system embodies the rules of the game within which managers work to create value and manage risk.” Additionally, commercial clients are becoming more aggressive about overseeing their attorneys’ billables. To break from the stereotypical “gun for hire” stigma, litigators must become effective business advisers who provide business solutions—not just settle legal disputes.
The law is viewed as a system that must be complied with rather than a system that encompasses opportunities that clients use to maximize and achieve their business objectives. The private equity industry has seen a great deal of new compliance laws in recent years. Instead of constantly defending their clients against these compliance laws, litigators must collaborate with their clients to embrace the new compliance rules and create a strategy that maximizes their business goals and provide value to their stakeholders, while minimizing legal risk. Litigators with financial entities as clients need to be abreast of ways that cryptocurrency laws are affecting the financial industry, so that they can provide a strategy that allows their clients to capitalize off the digital currency. Understanding the impact that law and government have on the market provide litigators the opportunity to become effective business advisers to their clients and help create a value-based strategy that clients can effectively implement within the industry.