Avoiding self-inflicted problems in your matter.
Every case is different, but there are principles that apply to all legal disputes. Following these general rules is essential to reduce risk and ensure our ability to help you achieve a favorable outcome in your case.
- Admissions. Statements made outside of court, or hearsay, and not under oath are inadmissible in court, subject to a litany of exceptions. One of the most significant exceptions to the hearsay rule is that for admissions. Admissions are defined broadly and essentially include anything you, the party to litigation, say that could be used against you. In other words, and in criminal law parlance, "anything you say can and will be used against you." In any personal or legal dispute, you should be very careful about what you say and to whom. In fact, if you are in a legal dispute that may be litigated, and certainly if you are in a dispute that is in litigation, we recommend that you do not discuss your dispute with anyone other than your attorneys unless you have cleared the communications with your attorneys beforehand, and use extreme care, such as having your attorneys present for any such discussions.
- Attorney-Client Privilege. Your communications with counsel are generally subject to attorney-client privilege, which means they are not discoverable or admissible as evidence. Disclosure of attorney-client communications to third parties may destroy the attorney-client privilege not only for the specific communications disclosed but for other related communications. Do not disclose any communications, spoken or written, between you and your attorneys to anyone absent pre-approval by your counsel.
- Preservation of Evidence. You should preserve all evidence and potential evidence relating to your dispute, including documents and electronic files, favorable or unfavorable. If your company has routine culling policies and practice, such as shredding documents or software programs that delete files of a certain age, you should suspend those policies and practices once it appears that litigation is a possibility. As your attorneys, we need all information relating to your case both favorable and unfavorable. Further, there are serious legal and strategic consequences for destroying what could be evidence in litigation.