Many clients think they are helping themselves by attempting to build their own case against their business partner, even before they come to see an attorney. While sometimes that may be true, many times it is not, and they may be hurting themselves instead.
A clear example of such self-destructive “self-help” is the New Jersey client who secretly recorded a phone call with his business partner because he did the legal research (via Google) and found that such a recording is permitted in New Jersey. Yet, he failed to discover that, if his partner was talking to him from his house in Florida when he made the recording, a crime was committed. In another case, a client sought legal counsel the day of a meeting, when it was too late to arrange to record that conversation. Of course, that turned out to be the conversation that, had it been recorded, would have made our case a “slam dunk.” By seeking counsel too late, the client lost the opportunity to really help his case.
In another instance, the client obtained the books and records from the company – that were exported into an Excel spreadsheet – and insisted that we build our case on those records rather than “waste money” asking for business records he already had. However, when he finally allowed us to seek a court order to obtain the QuickBooks file – in native format – we learned that the documents were changed after the Excel export.
Clients who think they have very few options often turn out to have excellent arguments to be bought out, and those who insist they have the strongest business divorce case ever filed are disappointed to learn they are the ones who have been acting improperly.
The bottom line is to save some money by ordering a regular Dunkin’ coffee instead of a Starbucks latte. Don’t try to save money by building your own shareholder oppression litigation before seeking legal help. Talk to a lawyer at the start, not in the middle.
If you have any questions about this post or any related business law matters, please feel free to contact me at email@example.com.