The Canadian Bar Insurance Association
Corporate

Should I have a business lawyer litigate my commercial dispute?

By Anton Katz

Small business owners are often balancing competing demands and interests, and trying to be as cost-efficient as possible when doing so.

It’s no different when it comes to hiring legal counsel.

It can be very valuable for Toronto entrepreneurs to have a business lawyer litigate their commercial disputes. To find out why – and to help you determine the type of lawyer you need to protect your business interests – read below.

There are two kinds of lawyers – those who do deals and those who litigate.

A deal lawyer – also known as a corporate lawyer or business lawyer – assists clients with such legal matters as incorporating and maintaining companies, drafting, reviewing, and negotiating various business agreements, such as shareholders’ agreements, and handling real estate transactions.

We’ve already discussed how important it is for small business owners and entrepreneurs to hire a good corporate lawyer early on. That’s because business lawyers help to make deals happen, and in doing so, can negotiate and protect your interests to avoid or prevent potential issues from arising.

Contrast this with the litigator. Small business owners typically engage litigators only after a problem has arisen, such as when they receive notice of a lawsuit or other dispute.

A litigator represents your interests before the courts and/or during alternative dispute resolution proceedings, such as arbitration, mediation, and administrative tribunals. Litigators draft pleadings, attend examinations for discovery, prepare for hearings, and advocate before courts and other decision-makers on your behalf.

A lawyer who practices both corporate law and commercial litigation is particularly advantageous for small business owners who want to save time and money.

Think about it.

Deal lawyers have seen every permutation of a provision. Litigators know how these provisions play out in the real world.

A seasoned lawyer with expertise in both is capable of drafting your agreements with a view to selecting the optimal wording of clauses that will stand up in court. The axiom that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” holds true here.

And where an issue does arise, you will have someone to represent your interests before the courts or in arbitration that you are already familiar and comfortable with – and trust.

The lawyer knows you, your business, your industry, and the facts surrounding the case. And if he or she drafted them for you, your lawyer is intimately familiar with the pertinent agreements and their clauses.

There’s no learning curve or third person to bring up to speed on the matter – which saves you time and money. (Note however that if the lawyer who drafted the agreement needs to be a witness in the matter, he or she may be disqualified from litigating the file.)

Contact Anton M. Katz, Barrister & Solicitor today

With over 20 years of corporate law and commercial litigation experience, Anton M. Katz, Barrister & Solicitor is dedicated to helping small business owners with all their legal needs. Contact us today to book your free initial consultation. 

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