As a small business owner, having a client sue you can be very scary. In your fear — and perhaps even out of some anger towards the client — you may want to take the case to court and make sure your side is heard by the judge. However, if your lawyer is able to arrange for mediation, this is often the better approach. Here's why.
Mediation often results in a faster settlement.
If you opt for mediation, your lawyer and the client's lawyer will sit down together and try to hammer out a deal. That deal will be presented to you, and to the client, and you can decide whether or not to accept it. If you want to make proposed changes to the deal, you can ask for them — and the lawyer will fight for them on your behalf. This process can take a month or two, but it's a lot faster than actually letting your case go to court. If you go to court, there could be several months between hearings with the judge. Having the case drag on and on can be physically and mentally draining for you.
Mediation is less nerve-wracking for you.
Even the calmest, most level-headed person tends to get nervous in front of a judge and court room. If you have anxiety, the whole scenario can be downright horrible. Going through mediation is a lot less stressful. Nobody will demand that you answer questions or account for certain details. You won't have to sit there as witnesses come to the stand. You'll just have a couple of quiet meetings with your lawyer.
Mediation keeps the case out of the public eye.
Even if the client suing you does not win their case, chances are, the case will get some media attention if it goes to court. This is not great publicity for your business. If you hire a business lawyer to mediate an agreement, on the other hand, the case should stay largely out of the public eye. Even though you may end up having to pay some money to the client, your future profits will be far less impacted -- so you might make out better in the long run.
If a client is suing you, do not panic. Talk to your business lawyer about the possibility of mediation. It's usually the easier route -- and sometimes also the cheaper route -- for everyone involved.Share