Let’s face it: when it comes to litigating a family business dispute, a lawsuit can be a trial! The road to court is paved with years of depositions, pre-trial hearings and other exhaustive legal maneuverings, and by the time the trial date finally arrives,the lawyer-client bond has been strengthened by the shared experience of navigating the legal trenches together.
According to today’s guest article by Henry C. Krasnow, such emotional entanglement coupled with sheer trial fatigue can cloud an attorney’s otherwise sound legal judgment. This can become a problem, especially when a lawyer stubbornly clings to his original strategies to the bitter end, and consequently rejects reasonable settlement offers along the way. Such acts of foolish pride not only can lose a case, by more importantly, they can discourage future business. Hey, if The Practitioner was your client, I’d be much happier walking away with something than nothing!
I know, I know—when you’re elbow deep in a trial, objectivity can fly straight out the window. Which is precisely why Krasnow advocates bringing on outside counsel to help keep things in check. Doing so is by no means an indication of failure. On the contrary: accepting guidance from others signals to clients that you’re adaptable. After all: everyone makes mistakes. It’s about how you handle setbacks, that matters most.
Of course, if your client autonomously hires back-up counsel, don’t scoff! Instead, salute your client’s initiative, and play nicely with your new team members. Remember: it can’t be easy for clients to tap reinforcement, given the emotional delicacy involving the relationship they already have with you.
Bottom line: keep the communication lines open, and remain fluid. And if everything isn’t hunk-dory in Legal Land, pair willingly with outside counsel to maintain a sensible approach moving forward. Because when it comes to satisfying your family enterprise clients, course correction is not a crime!
But don’t take The Practitioner’s word for it, seek a second opinion yourself and read Kranow’s article by clicking the button below.
About the Contributor
Henry C. Krasnow is the author of “Your Lawyer: An Owner’s Manual” and partner at Krasnow Saunders Cornblath Kaplan and Beninati LLP. He has over forty years experience crafting solutions to legal problems that are focused on increasing the profitability of entrepreneurial and family businesses. He advises business owners on a broad range of problems, such as family business succession planning and dispute resolution, real estate development, sales and acquisitions of businesses, intellectual property protection, resolution of business disputes through litigation, arbitration, negotiation and mediation, and debt restructuring. An FFI Fellow and FFI Interdisciplinary Achievement Award winner, Henry also holds a certificate in Family Business Advising. Henry can be reached at http://www.ksc-law.com.
Be sure to look for The Practitioner: Wednesday Edition next week in your email or online, when we feature our next guest article “The Power and Practice of Storytelling” by Judith Kolva.