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One of the most challenging situations that decision parties face in a legal proceeding is figuring out when to litigate and when to negotiate or settle.

Any legal dispute is like a blend of chess and poker as there are various strategies and thinking moves ahead of your opponent.

What is litigation?

Litigation is an action presented in court for the purpose of enforcing a specific right. The process or act of bringing a lawsuit in and itself becoming a judicial contest or a dispute. An individual enters the litigation process when he/she begins a civil lawsuit. In other words, it is the act of filing a lawsuit in a law court, exchanging information with the defendant through discovery and then resolving the case either by settling out of the court or taking the case to a jury or judge to decide.

When do you need to litigate?

A legal dispute has come to light so you not only want to take the person to court but also litigate and win. But wait! Why would you want to litigate in the first place? In most cases, litigation might be the only and most appropriate solution to resolve a dispute. You need litigation when you want to:

Set a precedent

Maybe you’re right (or at the minimum, you think you’re right) and you require to set a precedent in order to preempt or discourage similar claims soon or send a specific message to others regarding you. You might want to choose litigation to set a precedent that you are not a pushover or don’t want to be coerced into rolling over in a bogus dispute.

Securing your intellectual property

Among the most crucial assets is your company’s intellectual property (“IP”) and protecting it is an essential move. Litigation may be the only avenue to enhance IP protection that others will both see and respect. Nevertheless, litigating protection of an IP infringement can be a double-edged sword if your patent is expired or found to be invalid.

Resolving a public policy matter

Public policy issues are usually impractical to address especially through legislation or other authoritative policy-setting ways. This is because both can need huge budgets, move at a glacial pace or require expertise that is out of reach for most businesses or individuals. Sometimes resorting to litigation in order to make your public policy might be the best move.

For instance, if a certain agency is looking at how you treat your employees and whether you offer them enough meal breaks or how you classify the workers as contractors or employees. At this point, you might want to litigate the matter rather than waiting for the agency to make a decision. When pressed on such public policy matters by others, it makes sense if you prefer to litigate the issue instead of conceding all the issues, particularly when the new policy is danger-posing to your business.

Need a jury decision

You might want a jury to decide your case especially when someone has an emotionally appealing story to tell. This is among the most common strategic reason to litigate an employment or personal injury case.  Moreover, it can be employed on waste cases or product liability or hazardous/toxic exposures where illnesses, as well as other medical issues, are caused by that company or industry behavior. These are but a few examples where a jury is desirable in many kinds of cases.

The bigger picture!

Despite litigating or settling before suit is filed, always consult your attorney or lawyer especially when injured. Your attorney will clearly explain to you the benefits and risks of litigating. Even though litigation can be quite expensive, working with an experienced and confident attorney guarantees a win in any dispute.


Litigation is an appropriate option to resolve disputes in various situations. Keep in mind that litigation will not come cheaply – it’s associated with time, money or distractions of your life or business. Essentially, ensure that stakes are high and sufficient to warrant everything.