13 March 2019

Commercial dispute looming? How to avoid trump size legal costs

There is no love lost between Donald Trump and his former lawyer Michael Cohen.

Their dirty laundry has been aired very publicly indeed – and now so too are the legal costs of being involved in this sort of super heavyweight scrap.

This article making front page news is a touch vague, but I have pieced together that Cohen has spent the best of part of US$3,600,000 in legal fees over 17 months.

That equates to $10,000 Australian dollars per day.

As a commercial litigator I have been involved in some very big and hard fought litigation over the years (fortunately none that have made front page news across the globe like Cohen’s) and I can say that this is, sadly, not unusual

Cohen’s legal bill is enormous – but make no mistake, in so called ‘bet the farm’ litigation where the stakes are do or die,  it is not as big as it gets.

This is one of the reasons why I focus so strongly on what is known as Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR).  This is where we try to avoid the endless racking up of legal fees in protracted litigation by exploring options for resolution outside of going to trial.

ADR includes mediation, and is proving to be very effective in resolving matters early and without the need to expend staggering sums on legal fees.

My piece advice I give routinely is try to avoid brutal litigation if you can – and explore ADR and ways to reach outcomes that mean you don’t spend more on legal fees than you have to.

If you are in a dispute or have a disputed issue give me a call, I’m always happy to chat.

Craig Hollett is a highly regarded and well-versed commercial litigator with over 20 years’ experience. Craig’s extensive experience includes commercial and contractual disputes, building and construction, general commercial litigation, debt recovery, bankruptcy and insolvency, insurance law, professional indemnity and liability, defamation, mortgage enforcement, vocational disciplinary proceedings, OH&S prosecutions and public liability.