by: Arend J. Abel, Attorney
Receiving lawsuit papers can be a small business-person’s worst nightmare. What do you do, and what can you expect in the process? Here are a few tips, derived from my 25-plus years of helping businesses deal with suits against them.
Hire the Right Lawyer
It may seem obvious that the first thing you should do is hire a good lawyer. What’s less obvious is who is the right lawyer for the job. That decision depends on what sort of suit has been brought against you, because not all lawyers are created equal. Just because your neighbor or brother-in-law is a lawyer does not mean they have the experience necessary to deal with your particular issue. If they are trusted advisors, you may be able to count on them for a referral, but don’t insist that they handle something that is outside their area of practice.
People hire attorneys for many different reasons. What if you were involved in a car accident and were seriously injured? What would you do if you had a medical emergency and discovered that the cause may have been a medication that you were taking? How would you react if you learned that a medical device that was used to help your body recover from an injury actually caused life-threatening side effects or worsened your injury?
Ouch! Yeah, that title hurts. But, we have all been there. As we all know, jury trials just are not as common as they used to be, and it is not unusual for an experienced litigation associate to not have a jury trial under his or her belt.
What happens when that day has finally arrived? A partner or senior associate needs your help for an upcoming trial, and approaches you to help. What now? Your first jury trial is staring you in the face? What can you do to help make the trial less nerve wracking?