Top 3 Tips for Handling High Stakes Litigation

By Cynthia Hsu, Esq. on August 25, 2011 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

The very nature of handling "high stakes litigation" implies that there's much to lose and gain from a case.

And, as in-house counsel, when handling high stakes litigation, your ultimate goal is to provide the very best settlement for your company. Or, in the alternative, prevail in court.

What are some tips to ensure that the litigation process goes smoothly?

High Stakes Litigation Tip #1: Manage your internal expectations.

You should aim to not "surprise" stakeholders or company executives with a settlement. Especially if the settlement amount means that they will be paying out a lot more than expected, or conversely getting a lot less than expected. Creating a decision tree that visually depicts different settlement amounts depending on what happens in the litigation can help manage expectations.

High Stakes Litigation Tip #2: Smartly resolve litigation cases if you want to avoid trial.

There are some instances where you'd want to settle cases out of court. When handling these types of cases, it's important to settle the case early on and for the very best outcome possible. There are many factors that can help induce settlement. Attorneys can craft research that shows how costly it would be to go to trial, which might encourage the other side to deal. And, depending on your jurisdiction, courts may play an active role in case management.

High Stakes Litigation Tip #3: Work collaboratively with your outside counsel.

Many high stakes litigation cases will involve outside counsel. Maintaining a good working relationship with them will be an important component in effectively managing of the case. Communication with outside counsel is the key to ensuring that everybody is on the same page and is working toward the same goal.

Smart and effective handling of high stakes litigation cases can make an in-house counsel's career. And, it can mean a boon to your company. While these tips certainly aren't exhaustive, it is a starting point to figuring out effective ways to handle complex litigation matters.

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