I once received a telephone call from a business owner who started the call by saying, with more than a hint of desperation in his voice: “I have been to five lawyers, and they all told me that there was nothing that could be done to help me separate from my bad partner. Finally, my CPA suggested that I give you a call to see if you might be able to help me”. Imagine the desperation of the business owner who sincerely believes that there is no legal way to extricate himself from a bad business partnership.
Before I had even heard the client’s story, I said: “Sir, I don’t know the specifics of your situation, but I am confident that I will be able to help you”.
What gave me the confidence to say that to a business owner before hearing his story? At that time, I had been practicing business divorce for more than 20 years, and in all my years of practice I had not encountered a client who I could not have helped. The circumstances of each case are unique, of course, but the available outcomes are predictable, and many tools are available to the experienced business divorce lawyer to engineer an acceptable result for the client. Some cases call for the most delicate negotiation of a business deal acceptable to both sides. Other cases cry out for immediate and aggressive litigation. Yet another set of cases call for the initiation of negotiations, with the overt and credible threat of litigation if “amicable negotiations” do not lead to a resolution in a reasonable time frame.
Knowing which techniques to use, when to use them, and how to use them is what makes up the art and craft of the business divorce lawyer.
By the way, the client at the beginning of this post shared his story, and I came up with two possible options for the business break-up within half an hour. The counselling point for you is that you don’t have to remain in an emotionally destructive partnership. You can do something about it.