What is Business Litigation? | Why You Should Consider Managing It In-house


You know the adage: if you want something done right, you need to do it yourself. This can ring particularly true when it comes to handling corporate disputes and litigation. If your organization wants to resolve disputes and litigation matters more quickly and without incurring excessive costs, managing those issues in house may be the way to go.

Recently, more and more organizations are handling at least some disputes and litigation matters in house instead of relying on outside counsel. But what’s driving that trend? And what should you do to maximize your chances of handling matters in house successfully?

That’s what we’re covering in this blog. First, we’ll explore the trend of managing disputes internally and go over seven reasons why organizations should consider keeping matters in house. We’ll then share a few best practices for resolving issues in house and discuss how technology can help your in-house legal team handle disputes and business litigation more efficiently.


What is business litigation?
What are the most common causes of a business litigation?
The rising trend of managing business litigation in house
7 reasons to consider handling business litigation in house
Best practices for conducting business litigation in house
How technology can help you handle in-house business litigation more efficiently
Technology helps in-house legal teams manage matters with confidence

What is business litigation?

Business litigation, also known as commercial litigation, is an area of law related to defending and resolving disputes between a company and any other party. Depending on the legal issues that it’s aiming to solve, various types of business litigations can be differentiated, namely:

  • Breach of contract
  • Employment claims
  • Real estate disputes;
  • Fraud;
  • Product liability;
  • Partnership disputes (e.g. one of the partners engages in an illegal activity that might hurt the business);
  • Etc.

What are the most common causes of a business litigation?

Some of the most common reasons for starting a business litigation include breaches of contract, employment disputes, and intellectual property disputes.

Contract breaches occur when a party to a contract fails to perform as stipulated within the terms of the contractual agreement. Employment disputes might imply any dispute arising from unfair or wrongful dismissal or demotion, workplace harassment, and essentially from the violation of any law concerning employment. That said, intellectual property disputes arise when an organization is being accused of embezzling intellectual material that belongs to someone else or when you as an organization want to protect your intellectual property from being misappropriated by another party.

The rising trend of managing a business litigation in-house

These days, organizations are retaining more and more work for their in-house legal teams and reducing the amount of work they outsource to outside counsel. This trend applies to day-to-day legal work as well as complex matters that outside counsel would typically have handled in the past, including litigation matters.

This trend may be a response to organizations’ shrinking budgets—hiring outside legal counsel is expensive—along with the rise of technology that allows in-house legal teams to more efficiently handle litigation. Additionally, in-house legal teams have been expanding in both size and skill. In fact, in-house counsel is one of the fastest-growing portions of the legal industry in the United States.

But just because everyone else is doing something doesn’t mean you should. To decide whether you should handle more disputes in house in your organization, let’s look at some of the potential benefits of doing so.

7 reasons to consider handling business litigation in house

There are many benefits of handling litigation in house. Here are our top seven.

  • Lower costs

Handling litigation in house is almost certain to be more cost-efficient than hiring outside counsel. Even if you need to hire additional lawyers to work as specialists or to round out your in-house legal team, you are likely to save money in the long run.

  • More control

With outside counsel, you may be less aware of what’s happening with a matter on a day-to-day basis and less involved with the process. When you keep the litigation process in house, though, your organization has greater insight into what’s happening and an enhanced ability to maintain control.

  • Greater efficiency

In-house legal teams are often able to handle litigation matters more efficiently and quickly than outside counsel. This is due, in part, to the fact that it generally takes more time to onboard an outside team. Additionally, in-house legal teams are increasingly adopting new technology to streamline aspects of litigation, such as eDiscovery, which allows them to work faster and more effectively.

  • Increased familiarity

Your in-house legal team is almost certainly more familiar with your organization than outside counsel can ever be. This means that in-house counsel is in a better position to assess the risk associated with a matter and advise your organization. In-house counsel will also have a deeper understanding of any issues that may come up during litigation concerning your organization’s inner workings.

  • Higher security

Keeping litigation close to home can eliminate some of the security risks associated with transferring information. When you hire outside counsel, you need to share your organization’s data with them, which creates the possibility of data leakage both during the transfer and while that information is in the law firm’s custody. When you manage litigation in house, though, you don’t have to send data anywhere; you can maintain it in your own secure data storage systems.

  • Big-picture thinking

In-house legal teams are uniquely situated to consider how your organization’s big-picture business objectives relate to the legal risk posed by a dispute. Due to their familiarity with the business’s values and principles, they are in a better position to consider the organization’s interests as a whole and strategize accordingly.

  • Post-litigation problem solving

Because your in-house legal team is an integral part of your organization, it can develop and help your organization implement solutions long after disputes have been resolved. This can improve the way you do business and reduce the risk of future liability.

Best practices for conducting business litigation in house

Now that we’ve covered some of the benefits of handling litigation in house, let’s explore five practical things you can do to improve the way your in-house legal team handles disputes.

  • Know your organization

The more ingrained your legal team is with your organization, the better it can handle in-house litigation. Make sure every member of your legal staff understands how your organization operates, its values, its objectives, and its vulnerabilities. In addition, spend some time getting to know the key people who make your organization what it is. This knowledge will come in handy during litigation and help you keep the big picture in mind.

  • Assert control

Taking control of your in-house legal team’s litigation process and needs is essential. When handling litigation matters, the head of your team should step up as the litigation team leader. They should claim ultimate decision-making authority over other internal departments and any outside counsel that may be involved.

Your legal team should also feel empowered to seek help and information from internal and external sources when necessary. This is another way of asserting control over a situation and making sure you have what you need to competently resolve disputes.

  • Be flexible

Your legal team must remain agile throughout the litigation process. Disputes may expand or change as they proceed, so your in-house team must be willing and able to change tactics when needed. This could mean employing new technology, switching up workflows, or bringing in a subject-matter expert or specialist.

  • Maintain clear and frequent communication

Quality communication is key. You should maintain regular communication with interested parties such as other involved business unit heads, managers, or executives. Routinely update them on the status of litigation and make them aware of any issues that arise. When communicating with non-lawyers, be sure to use plain language and explain the process as needed. It’s your job to keep the rest of the organization’s leadership informed so they have the information they need to make good decisions about the business as a whole.

  • Invest in the right technology

Your goal when conducting litigation in house should be to work smarter rather than harder. You can leverage technology to move through each stage of litigation with greater accuracy and efficiency, especially when it comes to eDiscovery. Let’s turn there next.  

How technology can help you handle in-house business litigation more efficiently

Luckily, technology can be a great asset in helping your legal team handle litigation efficiently and effectively. Technology can help you handle voluminous eDiscovery, streamline your data collection and review processes, and save your organization time and money.

For example, Live Early Data Assessment (Live EDA) is the go-to in-place search solution, especially if your organization stores data across multiple repositories. Live EDA allows your legal team to perform in-place searches across numerous data sources from one interface, even before you are ready to collect that data. This function allows you to use Live EDA to implement early case assessment (ECA). In ECA, you focus on locating enough data when a matter first begins to calculate the risks, weigh the viability of different approaches, and—if necessary—develop a litigation strategy at the outset.

With Live EDA, you can locate relevant evidence across multiple repositories—whether on premises, in the cloud, or both—from a single interface. Live EDA compiles this information into a content index that reveals where the information is located, why it lives there, how long it has existed, and who can access and modify it.

Live EDA also helps your legal team perform in-place review and analysis of data, identify relevant documents, and avoid over-collection. If you need to adjust the scope of an inquiry to add new custodians or data sources at any point, you can do so without having to restart the process from scratch.

With Live EDA, your legal team can handle in-house investigations and litigation matters quickly, efficiently, and cost-effectively.

With technology like Live EDA, in-house legal teams can rise to increasingly greater challenges, handling investigations and litigation matters with confidence and resolving disputes more efficiently. This results in lower costs and less time spent reacting to disputes and other issues—which means more time to provide strategic guidance for the business as a whole.

To learn more about IPRO and Live EDA, schedule a demo today.