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American Bar Association - Defending Liberty, Pursuing Justice


Vol. 7, No. 3




How to Hire a Business Litigation Attorney

By David Z. Kaufman

The world of business and commercial litigation is much too specialized for someone who does not regularly handle these cases. You should be aware that the law firms who represent many of the larger businesses know who the attorneys are in your area who actually go into court to try cases and who does not. They will use that information to evaluate their client’s risk. One of the first questions any good business litigation attorney will ask when a serious claim comes in is, “Who is representing the other side?”

So how do you find out who is good in your area? Here are factors and good points to look for and question your attorney about. Note that not every attorney will meet all of these criteria, but the significant absence of the following should be a big question mark.

  • Experience—obviously, the longer you have been practicing a particular area of the law, the more you will know.
  • Experience actually trying cases—ask the attorney how many cases he has actually tried. Has he or she achieved any significant verdicts or settlements for his/her clients? The greater your number of cases actually tried and substantial verdicts and settlements achieved, the more the other side will respect you.
  • Respect in the legal community—has your lawyer lectured or taught other lawyers?
  • Membership in trial lawyer associations, not just bar associations.
  • Publications—has your attorney written anything that has been accepted for publication in legal journals?
  • Is your attorney licensed in the state where your case will be filed?
  • Once you have decided on an attorney, make sure that you both understand your goals and that you understand how the relationship between you and your attorney will work.
  • How will your attorney keep you informed about the progress of the case?

Make sure that you and your attorney have a firm understanding as to who will be handling your case. There are a lot of things that go on with a case that do not require the senior attorney’s attention. On the other hand, if you are hiring an attorney because of his or her trial skills, make sure that that person is going to be trying your case for you.

David Z. Kaufman’s practice concentrates on business and commercial litigation. He has personally tried more than 30 jury trials and more than 80 bench trials to verdict. For more information about his practice, visit

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