Christopher Hill (no relation to yours truly) is a longtime construction law attorney and mediator practicing out of Richmond, Virginia. His blog, Construction Law Musings, has always been one of my must-read sources of news and insight pertaining to construction law ever since he started it in late 2008. Be sure to follow @constructionlaw on Twitter for the latest updates from a true thought leader in the art and science of resolving construction disputes. Without further ado, I am proud to present Mr. Hill’s guest post on a topic that I couldn’t agree with more — the business case for why the mediation process is so critical to the A/E/C industry.
When my wife and I were first married, we lived in the North Park area of San Diego. Once a second child was on the way we knew we needed to find a better living situation, so we left. That was right at the beginning of the explosion of the craft beer scene.
There is an interesting pattern that seems to exist in any new high-growth industry: after early adopters open the door to a mainstream marketplace creating widespread demand (thereby “crossing the chasm”), and as a complete ecosystem develops around this burgeoning industry, next come the lawsuits, followed by standardized insurance policy provisions. Eventually the lawyers specializing in these areas of law will get together at annual conventions where they sometimes drink far too much.
ValoreBooks sells used textbooks. Textbook publishers sell new textbooks. The publishers sued ValoreBooks. Bobby Brannigan, their CEO, decided to fight. In retrospect – he suggests attempting to settle would have saved a lot of time, money and stress.
I launched ValoreBooks, an online marketplace for textbooks, with 12 college friends. We devoted years to building the company and went heavily into debt. Then, just as we were poised to become profitable, our biggest competitors hit us with a lawsuit that threatened to destroy us.
We either had to fight it or give in. We decided to fight — and fight hard — but in retrospect, I think it would have been better if we had surrendered.
- Image by TomNatt via Flickr
Does the phrase “herding cats” sum up the essence of your commercial litigation experience?