17602-a-golden-gavel-pvFor business owners, the ability to continue and expand their operations is always of the utmost importance, and anything that could jeopardize it should be avoided. Especially in these litigation-happy times, the threat of a lawsuit is not something you just need to keep in the back of your mind — it should be something you’re actively trying to prevent. Fortunately, there are some precautionary measures you can take to reduce your risk of getting involved in business litigation.

Conduct business in a smart, friendly and professional manner: Many lawsuits arise from simple misunderstandings, partnerships that don’t go well and breach of contract. Through good communication, avoiding poor partners and paying attention to the finer points of your business, you can reduce your odds of finding yourself facing legal challenges.

Understand and act in accordance with the law: This should probably go without saying as well, but understanding and obeying the laws relevant to your business is a great way to avoid all but the most frivolous lawsuits. Although staying on top of current federal and U.S. Virgin Islands law can take some effort, having an experienced business lawyer at your side can relieve a lot of the pressure.

Document everything: The days of having file cabinets lining the walls of your office may be long gone, but you still need to keep track of all records related to your business. From emails and memos to signed contracts, everything should be kept, backed up and well organized so that you can access it quickly when a dispute arises.

Make sure you’re insured: On a basic level, a business with an office or other property should purchase liability insurance. It is just good practice if you want to avoid disaster arising from a slip-and-fall or other accident. More broadly, you should consider insurance typically carried by businesses within your industry, which is something a skilled attorney can help you figure out.

Establish good legal contacts ahead of time: It’s always a good idea to establish and develop strong legal contacts in your area that specialize in issues related to your industry in particular and business ownership in general. A knowledgeable business attorney can provide much-needed guidance and counsel when various situations arise, and it’s better to be prepared than to find yourself scrambling to find and develop a relationship with a legal professional in an emergency.

Dealing with legal challenges doesn’t have to spell disaster for your organization, and while it’s certainly best to avoid attracting a lawsuit through your own actions, there’s no perfect way of preventing an unhappy client or customer from targeting your business. Even the most scrupulous business owner may still be sued. When that happens, it’s all the more important that you have an experienced and highly skilled legal team working for you.

 BoltNagi is a widely respected and established business and corporate law firm serving clients throughout the U.S. Virgin Islands.