Our Approach to Litigation
Approach to Litigation
Dispute Resolution Attorneys Focused on Your Goals
There are several strategies for successfully resolving a business or legal dispute. If you are initiating or defending against litigation, you should be looking not only for a law firm with deep experience and expertise in litigation and trial success, but a legal partner who understands that the best solution is often an effective negotiation or other legal strategy that brings a successful outcome in a cost-effective manner and in the shortest possible time frame.
It is important to understand that taking a case through the Courts will take months (if not years). This is often the most expensive route to a resolution, however there are times where this is the best alternative based upon the facts of the case. At the Watkins Firm, our approach to disputes and potential litigation is based upon the goals and objectives of our clients. The process begins with a conversation about the nature of the dispute, and a review of potential strategies that will help to accomplish those goals. We forecast our expenses and put together budgets to meet our clients’ cost containment needs.
While every case and every client are unique, there are some common threads running throughout our approach to managing a case through litigation. When you retain our firm, you can rely on our attorneys’ dedication to prompt case preparation and technological sophistication.
Prompt case preparation: We immediately lay the groundwork for success by preserving evidence and obtaining statements and declarations from witnesses before they may change their perspectives on an incident. We carefully identify and document associated damages, and other impacts that directly result from the dispute. Our demand letters are based on sound evidence, which can secure a better resolution.
Technological sophistication: We maintain advanced computer and document production systems to assist us in preparing for litigation. All of our research and communications are computer-based, saving our clients time and money. In addition, our clients have online access to their case files.
We will discuss the four primary options for the resolution of your dispute:
The Four Steps to Resolving a Dispute
The fastest and least expensive way to resolve any business or legal dispute is negotiation. Our attorneys work to develop a productive working environment while we negotiate a solution that meets our client’s objectives. If you have been the victim of a breach of contract, it is necessary to take prompt and prudent action to mitigate your losses and reduce the damages associated with the breach. The key to an effective negotiation is leverage. Our lawyers document all relevant facts, costs, and associated damages as well as lost opportunity costs. A demand letter from a law firm and the presence of the Watkins Firm shows the other party that you are serious about resolving the dispute, and are prepared to do what is necessary to achieve the outcome you desire.
The next step in a dispute resolution often includes mediation. California Courts require mediation and a settlement conference prior to entering the litigation phase of a trial. In a mediation a neutral party works with each side to find common ground and resolve part or all of the dispute. The mediator is not a judge, and the parties are not bound to abide by his or her recommendations. The mediator may share past cases, their own experience and other strategies to help the parties to work toward a solution. A successful mediation can help to bring the dispute to a successful conclusion while keeping a control on costs and contingent liabilities.
Arbitration is often required by business and professional services contracts. Arbitration is a structured legal environment, but the rules of evidence are different than in California courts. In an arbitration, the parties agree upon a neutral arbitrator who has extensive expertise and experience in similar matters. The arbitrator often begins with a meeting to build common ground and seek a negotiated settlement. The arbitrator then hears evidence and testimony by both sides. After a period of time to reflect on all the information gathered, the arbitrator issues an “award” or decision based upon what is fair and just in the context of their experience with like matters. The finding of the arbitrator is not appealable unless there has been fraud or corruption on the part of the arbitrator.
The fourth and final option to resolve your business or legal dispute is to pursue litigation in a Court of Law. We prepare each and every case as though it will go through a trial. This preparation helps us to be more successful at each step along the way, and ensures that the case continues to move forward while we attempt to find a faster and less expensive resolution for our clients. We have a successful track record that spans decades of litigation and trial work in the San Diego region and Southern California Courts. We have earned our reputation by aggressive pursuing every opportunity to protect our clients’ interests. Being aggressive does not mean dragging cases out to earn greater fees; it means taking smart, assertive steps focused on successful case conclusion.
The final stage of litigation in a few cases is an Appeal. Trial Courts occasionally make erroneous decisions, or fail to follow California law and rules of evidence and procedures. If necessary, we are fully prepared to pursue appeals of adverse decisions. We are attuned to the documentation of trial errors for potential future reference on appeal.
A Thoughtful Approach to Litigation Success
A successful approach to litigation depends on keeping all of the above in mind at every stage of every case.
As you move through each step, from negotiation through litigation, there will be benefits and offsets to consider:
- Time; The time frame to resolution is important from many perspectives and is an important ingredient in any dispute resolution. In some cases it is best to simply settle things and move forward, while in others the principle involved or the value of the dispute offsets any issue of “time.” We work to conclude our cases quickly while achieving the best possible outcome for our clients.
- Control; Our ability to manage and directly control the outcome lessens in some ways at each stage. However, the facts of the case may require us to seek a venue that has much more stringent guidelines (arbitration) or laws, precedents and rules of evidence (litigation) that provide a different form of “control,” and ensure that we will achieve a more substantial and thorough victory. Communications help us to remain in lock step with our clients throughout the process keeping them in control of each decision along the way.
- Cost; The cost of resolving a dispute is directly associated with the time required and the level of control. The greater the power of the venue (arbitration or Court), the greater the amount of time we must invest to ensure that our briefs, evidence and filings are comprehensive and compelling. Cost containment is a primary focus of any dispute resolution strategy.
The Watkins Firm believes that these decisions rest with the client, and our responsibility is to provide sound advice, insight, perspective, and counsel to our clients based upon extensive experience and expertise. We aggressively take appropriate action to pursue the goals and objectives of our clients in order to achieve the best possible outcome in their dispute or case.
Does this sound like the type of legal representation that you have been seeking?
Contact the Experienced Dispute Resolution Lawyers at the Watkins Firm
The Watkins Firm keeps our client’s goals and objectives clearly in mind, and works to keep costs under control while effectively taking action to resolve each dispute. Our clients value that each person who works on their case represents the greatest value and best expertise to accomplish the task at hand. Unlike most large or national law firms, we do not have layers of bureaucracy that must bill to the case and increase the amount of every invoice. We handle matters efficiently, cost-effectively and with the experience and expertise gained from decades of service to the San Diego region.
If you are considering a lawsuit or are preparing to be served with legal papers we invite you to contact us to schedule an appointment, or call 858-535-1511 for a complimentary and substantive consultation. We will develop a comprehensive and proven strategy to effectively accomplish your goals and resolve your dispute in the shortest possible time frame and in a cost-effective manner.