If you own a business in North Carolina that has been sued, the first step you should take is hiring a local law firm to defend the case and help protect your company moving forward.
Many companies, especially those based outside of the US who own businesses in North Carolina, may consider hiring counsel from a large firm in a large city, such as New York or Washington, DC, to do this work. However, there are many advantages for the business owner to choosing local legal counsel instead.
Working locally—at home—is a big advantage for an attorney. When you describe your business’s situation, a local attorney can see how all the pieces fit together before the process even starts. Local attorneys know the judges, the court clerks, and how litigation is generally conducted in that particular area. These personal relationships and this knowledge provide an intangible but real advantage in the litigation process.
Knowing the people involved and how they have handled similar situations in the past is invaluable in many ways. For example, some arguments are more persuasive to one judge than to another, or other judges prefer a certain style of argument that can only be learned by appearing before them. Every case has its strong and weak points. Knowledge of the courtroom and the players involved helps an attorney know how to present your case in the best light.
Knowledge of the Local Rules
Every court has its own specific rules of practice, and they can vary widely. The rules are extensive, and some are more faithfully adhered to than others. A non-local attorney can quickly offend the judge and damage his or her reputation—and with it your case—if they don’t know a particular local rule.
Rules can range from how to get a hearing on a calendar to knowing who must appear at a hearing. There are simply too many courts with too many rules to know them all, but a local attorney will understand the rules of the local court better than a visiting attorney ever will.
Reputation is important in the practice of law. If you spend much time in court, you will quickly see which attorneys and firms are held in high regard by judges, court staff, and other lawyers. Local attorneys are more likely to take special care to maintain a positive reputation in their “home court.” They are more likely to come prepared with a thorough, strategic approach to protect your business. Outside attorneys do not have this incentive, because they may never appear in that particular court again.
The convenience of local counsel is a major benefit to any business that chooses local counsel over an outside firm. If an attorney’s primary office is five hundred miles away, he or she may be reluctant to meet with you regularly. There is also something to be said for being able to travel from your lawyer’s office to the court in a matter of minutes. The convenience of being on your attorney’s home turf can make the process less stressful.
If you are a business owner in the Charlotte and you are facing a lawsuit, hiring a local law firm with experience handling situations like yours is the best thing you can do for your business. The team at SeiferFlatow is here to help you. Give us a call today at 704-512-0606.