Identifying and managing stakeholders in your legal claim
To have the best chance of success in your legal claim, planning is absolutely essential. A good commercial claim won’t succeed purely on the basis of right or wrong, but if the interested parties, and chiefly the claim owner, build the case properly.
This includes identifying the right stakeholders involved in your claim – they can help strengthen your case, build strong supporting evidence and provide essential resource.
How to identify the right stakeholders
When embarking upon a legal claim, the first date for your diary is the preliminary meeting. This is a gathering of everyone affected by the claim, which includes those who have been affected adversely by the claim as well as your staff whose day-to-day job the legal action affects.
In order to organise this meeting, you need to identify who is affected by the claim – key stakeholders may include:
- Managers of the affected departments
- Your financial team
- Your legal team – internal legal team, lawyers, solicitors, specialist counsel
- The CEO, in some cases
This preliminary meeting will discuss the stakes, the defendant and their financial health as well as who will take ownership of the claim. Read more about the preliminary meeting in our guide to planning a successful legal claim.
Communicating with and organising stakeholders
Now you have identified your stakeholders, and more importantly your claim owner, it is time to create a timeline for bringing the claim to the defendant. You do this with cooperation, information and documentation from your key stakeholders.
The claim owner, likely to be a team of people rather than just one person, is the most important party in your claim, as they organise and manage all of the stakeholders. They instruct and manage external counsel, liaise with your in-house personnel and, when the time comes, communicate with the defendant.
It is their job to organise and communicate with your stakeholders, and they must be empowered to demand their cooperation. It’s important that they have the time and resources to do this, otherwise, you will miss fixed deadlines set by the court. All of these can delay the claim and increase the risk of a poor outcome.
Whoever heads up your claim, you should ensure your ownership team can do the following:
- Communicate well. Your claim owners should be confident communicating with willing and unwilling participants equally – internal teams, lawyers, witnesses and, of course, the defendant.
- Project manage. Legal claims come with paperwork, many meetings and deadlines. Therefore, a good project manager is essential to ensure everything runs smoothly and to time. Lack of coordination risks an unsuccessful outcome or at best a much lower settlement after costs are accounted for.
- Possess leadership skills. Your claim owners are responsible for the claim, and therefore they should be able to lead the claim to court. Strong leadership skills are essential here, to keep everything ticking along – and to deal with any problems along the way.
Once you have a good team in place, there are several ways to ensure cooperation from the wider range of stakeholders. Your legal claim is important, but you must remember that other stakeholders, especially from your internal team, have their daily duties to tend to as well. This means their cooperation may be difficult to gain, so it’s important to be understanding of their circumstances.
Set expectations from the outset. How many meetings will they have to attend? Roughly how much time will the case take up each week or month? What are the key deliverables and deadlines? You should also warn them that the outside lawyers will notify them of deadlines for documents and information set by the Court. If their help is needed, they will have to drop everything to comply. If people know these things from the start then they are much more likely to cooperate.
Find the best way to communicate. Any instructions must always be issued in writing, to keep your paper trail, but you can ensure cooperation by finding other means of communication. Understand your stakeholders and how they like to communicate – phone or email? Perhaps they prefer a regular weekly call to catch up on progress, or maybe they prefer only to be contacted when something needs to be done. Learn how they work, and work with them in this way. You’ll get better results.
Regular meetings are important. Tie in meetings with key deadlines, to ensure your stakeholders are in step with the progress of the claim. This doesn’t mean you have to gather all your stakeholders each time you meet, but instead, see them in groups after your preliminary meeting.
Be available. The claim owners have all the information about the case, so it’s no good if they are unresponsive to messages or meeting requests. Ensure people know when they are available, and how, so they can get in touch quickly. This will only help build a strong case and a cooperative team.
Working with third-parties on your legal claim
A number of third parties will be involved in your legal case – lawyers, specialist counsel or litigation funders, for example. It’s important to set expectations from outside parties from the outset, and also to develop a mutually beneficial way of working together.
When planning a legal claim your documentation should be watertight, and this is down to your legal team in most cases. A good legal team will know the importance of instructions issued in writing (emails, memos, documents). They need to build your case and highlight the facts for the defendant, so this is paramount. A fully documented claim is more likely to succeed.
As the case progresses, or even from the start, you may decide you need extra financial backing to win your claim. This is where a litigation funder may come in. When you work with a litigation funder like us, we make the process of funding your claim as hassle-free as possible. All we ask from you is a well-documented claim for us to review the merits of. If we are able to gain a clear picture of your case, and its chances for success, we can make a decision to fund it.
When working with a litigation funder we ask for cooperation from all stakeholders in your claim. We aren’t here to replace your legal team, but instead be one more supporting stakeholder for your claim and your business. If you have an organised claim with a good team behind it, working with a litigation funder is just like working with any other stakeholder.
Plan your successful legal claim
Our goal is to help you succeed in your legal claim, and we have a range of resources to help you do so.
If you have found this blog post helpful read about the advantages of litigation funding for business owners. We have also recently published a guide to planning a legal claim for your business, download it free from our website.