Navigating Contract Disputes: Key Strategies for Resolution

Contract disputes can threaten long-standing business relationships—and, in some cases, they can put entire businesses in jeopardy. As a result, while litigating a dispute through trial makes sense in some circumstances, it will often be in both parties’ best interests to work out an amicable resolution. Generally speaking, working out an amicable resolution reduces the time and costs involved, and, crucially, it provides the opportunity to work out a solution that serves each party’s interests long-term.

With this in mind, here are some key strategies for navigating high-stakes commercial disputes:

1. Make Sure Everyone Knows What the Contract Says

When facing a contract dispute, it is important to make sure everyone is on the same page—literally, in some cases. Many contract disputes arise out of misunderstandings of the parties’ respective rights and obligations. If resolving a dispute is a matter of correcting one party’s misunderstanding, then ensuring that both parties are accurately interpreting the contract can help facilitate a swift and uncontentious resolution.

2. Consider the Benefits of Negotiation

Negotiating an amicable resolution is often the best way to resolve a contract dispute. Parties facing disputes should consider the benefits of negotiation—and they should weigh these benefits against the potential benefits of going to mediation, arbitration, or trial.

3. Determine if the Contract Requires Mediation or Arbitration

Many commercial contracts require the use of mediation or arbitration (or both) to resolve disputes between the parties. If your contract requires alternative dispute resolution (ADR), this is a factor you will need to consider when weighing your options.

4. Review the Contract’s Other Dispute Resolution Provisions

Along with any mandatory ADR clauses, it is important to review the contract’s other dispute resolution provisions as well. If the contract requires disputes to be resolved in the city where your company’s headquarters are located, for example, the additional costs of traveling and engaging out-of-town counsel could factor into your counterparty’s decision-making.

5. Determine if Any Immediate Legal Action is Necessary

In some circumstances, immediate legal action may be necessary. This could be the case, for example, if a counterparty has breached its confidentiality or non-competition obligations. If your company needs to seek injunctive relief, then doing so promptly could be essential for protecting your company’s rights going forward.

6. Make an Informed Decision About How Best to Move Forward

As with all business-related matters, when facing a contract dispute, informed decision-making is critical. After evaluating all pertinent financial and legal considerations, business owners and executives should work with their companies’ counsel to carefully choose their next steps.

7. Be Prepared to Adjust Your Strategy As Necessary

Finally, while it is important to move forward strategically, it is equally important to be prepared to adjust your strategy as necessary. As contract disputes progress and evolve, new opportunities (and risks) may arise. Being prepared to address these developments head-on will often be key to achieving a favorable and efficient resolution.

Speak with a Contract Dispute Lawyer at Rendigs

Our contract dispute lawyers represent businesses of all sizes in contract disputes. If you need help resolving a dispute, we encourage you to contact us for more information. Please call 513-381-9200 or contact us online to schedule an appointment today.