Running a business is an exciting venture, but there are some aspects that make it hard. One of the less desirable aspects of running a company is dealing with disputes.

Unfortunately, business disputes, just like taxes and death, are inevitable. However, just as you can prepare and mitigate against taxes and death, you can avoid and reduce the impact of commercial disputes. That being said, here are some types of business disputes and how to avoid them

Employment Disputes

These cover a huge array of issues with the employees including an allegation of discrimination, termination, non-compete agreements and benefits. Most of these issues can be avoided or minimized through thorough know-how of state laws that apply and careful use of contracts with the employees.

The same applies to non-compete agreements where a person is not allowed to seek employment in the same geographic area or field for a set period. With good advice from a lawyer with extensive knowledge in employment law can help avoid and mitigate these issues.

Consumer Disputes

Your business would not exist without customers, but sometimes, they make it hard to run one. From complaints online to lawsuits for slip and fall claims, customers can take a toll on business. As with employment disputes, you need the assistance of an experienced lawyer to handle such situations in the right manner.

Inter-Business Disputes

These types of disputes are as old as the business concept itself. They range from employee poaching to patent or trademark infringement. In these kinds of situations, legal assistance from a knowledgable attorney in commercial litigation is highly recommended.

Breach of Contract

In the legal world, this is a run of the mill issue, but a breach of contract in the business world can spell doom for a company. Work in breach of contract cases happen before the breach itself happens, often in the drafting stage where the parties create enough terms to govern their relationship in order to make a breach less likely.

If a party purposely violates the terms or fails to uphold them, it is vital that you contact a business litigation lawyer to help resolve the case.

Partnership Disputes

This type of dispute is perhaps the most common in the business world. Business partners usually disagree over time as the business evolves. Partnership disputes are usually triggered by conflicts regarding new leadership roles, financial disparity and even hiring.

These types of disputes can be resolved through meditation, but it is usually best to have legal assistance.

Commercial litigation is a broad term, but it encompasses any legal process that seeks to resolve a business dispute. It could be a conflict between a company and its vendors, customers, competitors or even government agencies.

Commercial Litigation Basics

The legal exposure degree of your company is the first thing to know. Simply put, a company making beauty products has a varying set of concerns compared to one in the service industry like an accounting consultancy. The beauty products company, for instance, needs product liability and may be called on to show that the relevant government agencies have approved the products for human use.

Areas in which commercial litigation can arise include:

  • Partnership or shareholder disputes
  • Business dissolution
  • Franchise disputes
  • Debt collection actions
  • Employment disputes
  • Breach of fiduciary duty cases
  • Antitrust & trade actions
  • Consumer fraud and protection issues

As the first line of defence, you should implement thorough and well-documented filling systems. Also, keep every vital document both in electronic and hard-copy form.

Good Records & Paper Trails

Other than keeping good and easily accessible records, you should know that honesty is the best policy. This simply implies that you and your employees should be honest, ethical and transparent at all times. Integrity is a key ingredient to the success of a company.

In addition to being ethical, it helps to have record & paper trails of those honest dealings. So, ensure you save all business correspondence, including the internal communications like memos, emails, meeting notes etc.

Preparation is Imperative

There is no telling what may happen to you or your company, and so, it’s important that you are prepared in every aspect. As your business grows, you’ll find that you need a compliance officer to help you stay abreast of the ins and outs of dealing with the government. Also, assign a full-time employee to handle records management and archiving. Being prepared for anything is the best defensive strategy.

Do Not Wait Until It is Too Late

If you end up facing a lawsuit, you don’t want to be looking for a commercial litigation lawyer at the last minute. You need an established relationship with a law firm or attorney. Ensure you interview a number of reputable commercial law firms and attorneys in your region. You need an individual you can trust, but also one that understands your business and your needs, both personal and professional.

As your business grows, you need to scale up your legal coverage as well by using experienced solicitors such as https://www.dphlegal.com/ based in the UK. When growth begins to outstrip the ability of your company’s infrastructure to support it makes things pretty hard and so, you may want to plan ahead. One lawsuit like employee injury or tainted products can threaten the existence of your company and this makes legal coverage imperative.

With proper planning, you can be ready for any legal issue and keep your company running in a smooth manner. Proper preparation means saving all business documents, having commercial litigation lawyers on call and reviewing risk procedures on a regular basis.

Conflicts are bound to happen, particularly in the workplace and business dealings. Knowing the various dispute resolution methods better equips business leaders to handle conflicts, which in turn saves time, money, effort as well as stress.

Negotiation

When it comes to solving conflicts, this is one of the most straightforward approaches. Negotiation involves communicating and compromising between the conflicting parties. Time and financial costs are usually minimal as negotiation doesn’t require any outside influence. However, it can prove to be ineffective sometimes, as it’s not as robust compared to other dispute resolution forms. It’s only effective when both parties are willing to find an acceptable compromise. So, if one party isn’t willing to do so, or there’s bitterness, then negotiation fails to be a viable option.

Mediation

This is the involvement of a mediator to create an environment that’s ideal for communication and problem solving between the parties that are conflicting. Including a professional mediator not only creates a forum for ideal communication but fosters a better understanding for both parties.

Mediation calls for a lot of time with strong opinions and emotional tensions potentially slowing the process even further.

In order to get the best results, the mediator needs to have a comprehensive understanding of every aspect and potential conflict ramification. This means they need to create a rapport with the parties involved, thus instilling a shared belief that a resolution can be reached.

Settlement Conference

Here, a judge is appointed to take on the negotiation proceedings. This form of conflict resolution is advantageous as the moderator is likely to be respected by both parties. However, the recommendation by the judge is ideally non-binding and can be disregarded. Also, the process required more time and finances compared to other settlement options, particularly if the proceeding drags on.

Natural Evaluation

This form of dispute resolution works by bringing an involved person to evaluate the situation and give an unbiased means of resolving the conflict. Allowing an outside perspective creates new ideas that both parties may not have considered before.

However, the recommendations made are non-binding and don’t really force action or ascertain resolution.

Informal Dispute Resolution

Just like neutral evaluation, the conflict is reviewed by a hearing officer, who then provides a non-binding decision. The hearing officer essentially offers recommendations after a proper consideration of the pertinent facts. However, the parties aren’t obligated to take the recommended action.

The involved parties submit written statements prior to the hearing, from which the hearing officer reaches a verdict.