With a national reputation for helping clients meet their complex business needs, the attorneys on Sutherland’s Business and Commercial Litigation Team are experienced in resolving disputes efficiently and effectively. While many disputes facing our clients fall within our well-established specialty areas, such as securities or employment law, many disputes that we litigate for clients are sui generis or independent events that arise from the breach of a significant contract, a clash with a competitive business, or an intra-organizational conflict. These types of cases comprise a major part of our litigation practice—for local, regional, national and international clients involved in a wide range of industries.
Our litigators are regularly singled out by their professional peers for recognition in many of the top legal directories and rankings, including Chambers USA: Guide to Leading Business Lawyers, Legal 500 United States, The Best Lawyers in America and Super Lawyers®. We have tried cases in federal and state courts throughout the nation and have appeared before the U.S. Supreme Court and all 13 U.S. Courts of Appeals. We also have extensive experience before federal and state administrative agencies and arbitration panels, including international arbitration forums.
We bring experience and resources to help clients resolve even the largest and most complex business and commercial issues, including:
- Breach of contract disputes
- Bid protests
- Business torts, including fraud, unfair competition and deceptive trade practices claims
- Class actions
- Commercial real estate matters
- Defamation cases
- Trade secret and noncompetition matters
- Insurance coverage disputes
- Shareholder and partnership/LLC disputes
- Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) litigation
We are keenly aware of the frustration that business clients often experience in litigation––sometimes with their own lawyers––and believe that we offer a different, client-focused approach. Here are some of the guidelines and practices we follow:
Our Client’s Problem Is Not Our Opportunity
Our objective at all times is to be rigorously aligned with our client in finding the least expensive and quickest route to a successful resolution of the case––not a billing opportunity for us. Some cases can be resolved without costly discovery, if the lawyers are intent enough about problem-solving instead of reflexively launching the standard “litigation 1-2-3.”
Define Objectives at the Outset––But Be Prepared to Re-evaluate
We urge clients to define, at the outset of the case, what a “win” would be, with attention to litigation’s collateral consequences. Because new facts often emerge during litigation, we encourage clients to regularly reassess objectives and case valuations.
Provide Clients With Their Desired Work Product—Not the Work Product We Want
Some clients feel they are trapped on a runaway train once they hire a law firm. We believe that listening is especially important when it comes to delivering what the client needs. A 200-page research memorandum could be written on practically any subject, and sometimes that kind of product is exactly what a client wants. Most often, however, the client is seeking well-founded advice and analysis, concisely and efficiently delivered, and tailored to the circumstances. We discuss with clients the range of options and costs before significant research is undertaken.
Appropriate Staffing: We Don’t Train on Your Nickel
Clients are sometimes frustrated when they receive bills from their lawyers showing a roster of unfamiliar names. We don’t train our new attorneys at our clients’ expense. And we match the task at hand with the appropriate level of staffing and experience.
Manage Costs by Providing Budgets and Offering Creative Billing Approaches
We have worked successfully with many clients on a retainer basis. We are accustomed to providing litigation budgets––and sticking to them.
Provide Preventive Counseling to Help Reduce the Volume of Litigation and Potential Liability
The adversary process often sheds light on structural or business practice risks that were difficult to foresee. An important element of our service to clients is to point out ways to lower the risks of future litigation.
Help Clients Manage Litigation Vendor and Expert Costs
Clients involved in high-stakes litigation are besieged by third-party vendors–– expert witnesses, class-action administrators, e-discovery managers, trial consultants, mediators and arbitrators, and the like. The costs associated with these service providers are sometimes not fully accounted for or effectively monitored. It is Sutherland’s practice to ordinarily regard ensuring vendor efficiency as part of our service to clients.
Support Teamwork and Cooperation with Co-counsel, Allied Parties’ Counsel
Cooperation and teamwork are imperative for success and cost-effectiveness when conducting national, multi-defendant litigation. Outside counsel need to check their egos and competitive instincts at the door for the success of the common enterprise.
An Inside Lawyer Is Co-counsel, Not the Client
We understand the proper relationships among our clients, inside co-counsel and ourselves. We address conflicts swiftly and ethically.
Volume of Paper Seldom Corresponds with Quality of Advocacy
Some lawyers seem to view litigation as a contest to see whose word processors can generate the largest documents laden with footnotes and defined terms. Particularly in trial courts, there is seldom a correlation between the length of briefs and the quality of advocacy.
© 2013 Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP