CHICAGO, Nov. 24, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- "Aggressive advertising for lawsuits is on the rise on television, on highway billboards and on search engines and social media," observes Carmen D. Caruso, a Chicago-based trial lawyer and founder of the law firm that bears his name.
"Does it mean that we are a more litigious society, as many people say?" Caruso asks. "I believe the answer is, 'No.' We are a society where any business or employment relationship may unmask hidden personality traits and obsessions, self-serving demands, greed and ego, bad will and deceitful conduct, low self-esteem managers threatened by dynamic employees, and business defamation and shame used as tools of managerial control.
"It is not that we as a society are more litigious," Caruso observes. "It's that we have more to become litigious about," says the Chicago lawyer who specializes in trials and appeals, arbitration, business law and franchise law.
"Whether you manage a large corporation or are employed by one, or own a small company or work there, you are going to need a lawyer," Caruso says. "If you work as a freelancer in the 'Gig Economy,' and this is the fastest growing employment sector in the U.S., you are even more at risk."
Carmen D. Caruso has litigated successfully on behalf of individuals, corporations and interest groups, franchisers and franchisees, representing both plaintiffs and defendants in Federal and State courts.
"My first piece of legal advice to any individual or company is: 'Don't go to court unless you must,'" Caruso continues. "Which is why you may wish to retain a trial lawyer as your business lawyer from the beginning and insert a mandatory arbitration clause."
A trial lawyer? In a business negotiation?
"Negotiate, don't litigate is always the best first step," Caruso says. "If you start a business negotiation in good faith with a trial lawyer at your side, the other side will know that you are serious. A trial lawyer has learned to present in simple language a jury can understand. This saves a lot of time and it can save a lot of money. Furthermore, the trial lawyer should negotiate a settlement that is clearly enforceable, so you are less likely to have to go to court anyway to get what the other party has conceded is yours.
"Trial lawyer or not, a good lawyer does everything possible to identify and eliminate sources of conflict in any business relationship or franchise agreement before they emerge, pave a path to resolution of any disagreements such as Arbitration, and put his or her client in a position of strength," Caruso observes.
"However, no amount of meticulous preparation can identify every source of friction, poor performance or outright intent to deceive. Fights break out, pride trumps judgment, and most particularly in business relationship, franchise contracts and dealership contracts, the potential for reasonable resolution is displaced by narcissism and the need to win.
"And if all this emotion drives the case to trial, you are only going to win a business dispute or an employment claim with an experienced trial lawyer," notes Caruso.
Unfortunately, this need to fight for what the other party had agreed to is increasingly at play in small business as well as large.
"A municipal or county government issues a contract to a small supplier, perhaps a woman-owned or minority firm. These small and independent companies constitute another important growth sector in our economy, both for wealth creation and for employment. But these small companies typically lack capitalization. So the local government starts issuing "addendums" to the contract. These unilaterally decreed addendums impose increased operating expenses and other oppressive requirements that blow up the business plan for the supplier.
"Purchasing departments of government and industry get away with this all of the time," Caruso observes. "The small, vigorous and enterprising firm is placed in unreasonable financial distress. The purchasing agent gets promoted for reducing costs for services and parts. The unemployment commission gets another round of applications. Later, the governmental unit gets sued. Taxpayers foot the bill.
"This is much less likely to happen if you negotiate these addendums with a trial lawyer sitting next to you," Caruso says, "whether you are the unit of government or the supplier."
Instead, many individuals and many corporations try to go cheap when the outcome, if not in their favor, will be very expensive.
Why spend money on a business lawyer or franchise lawyer to review decisions about federal and state laws and the relationships you are creating with your investors, partners and employees, customers, suppliers and government agencies?
"Because any of these can get you into serious legal disputes if you make an error," Caruso suggests. "As recent court victories by federal and state prosecutors show, the corporate veil may be pierced and executives may be personally investigated, charged, tried and imprisoned.
"A business owner or board of directors encounters two conflicting messages on when to hire a business lawyer," Caruso explains. "Sometimes they hear that you wouldn't go to the doctor for a cold but you would for chest pains, and the decision to hire a business lawyer should follow the same logic."
"Of course, the doctor comparison is only a metaphor, but the advice I prefer is that you won't catch a cold and can avoid chest pains if you listen to what the doctor tells you before you have experienced either condition. A good business lawyer prevents legal disputes--with the government, with your investors, with your competitors, with your partners, with your executives, with your employees, with your customers and with your suppliers. That is a lot of legal exposure.
"A good business lawyer is the doctor you go to before you get sick," explains the founder of Chicago's Carmen D. Caruso Law Firm . "Worse comes to worse, a good trial lawyer is the doctor who makes you well."
About Carmen D. Caruso Law Firm
Carmen D. Caruso Law Firm is an aggressive trial practice law firm that has been recognized as one of America's Best Law Firms. We have an enviable track record of success.
Our lawyers focus on trial practice, appellate practice, and commercial arbitration and related client counseling. We practice in state and federal courts, and in commercial arbitration, throughout Illinois and across the country.
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SOURCE Carmen D. Caruso Law Firm