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How do you work through a dispute between business partners?

Arguing with your business partner in California could have some serious consequences for everyone involved– from you and your partner to corollary stakeholders, such as investors and employees. At Klein & Wilson, we know that litigation is always in the back of business owners’ minds when disagreements come up as to the meaning of a contract, ethical standards or even simple policy decisions.

We are by no means reticent to take things to the courtroom if necessary, but we often urge our clients to take every step possible before pursuing a business law issue formally. This typically means jointly developing a de-escalation plan with our client, ideally bringing the other parties to the table during the process. Unfortunately, the opposing partner is not always willing to see past personal issues and focus on our discussion of the business. We tend to proceed to litigation only if it seems we must go to court to end the partner dispute satisfactorily.

Preventing Future Problems

After a dispute, or if it seems one is looming, you have several options open to prevent or reduce the damage. Forbes has an insightful article that lists some of the tactics we might suggest to clients attempting to reduce conflict in their leadership structure. You might find some of these items difficult to achieve, especially those that seem to involve abandoning a competitive edge, but each of these strategies is useful in certain situations. 

If you ever feel like you are losing something important by adopting a dispute avoidance technique, it could benefit you to also consider what you gain by maintaining smooth operation of your organization. As with any negotiation, your goal is for both sides to walk away from the table with everything they need. Please do not regard this as legal advice. It is only meant to inform you about the topic.