Why Proper Documentation is Critical to Prevailing in Litigation

Small and midsize businesses conduct business in different ways. Too often though, businesses favor expediency over detailed record keeping. Record keeping takes many forms, such as detailed e-mail communications, internal memos, or documents that memorialize critical verbal conversations. Though expediency keeps costs down and is efficient, when a dispute arises, lacking the proper documentation can negatively impact a company’s bottom line.

When disputes arise between businesses and their customers, business partners or vendors, documenting the dispute is very important. Lawsuits generally are not filed immediately after a dispute arises.  Since the statute of limitations for claims can be different lawsuits may not be filed until years after the dispute arose. For example, the statute of limitations in Illinois for most breach of contract actions on a written contract is 10 years. During this time, memories fade, documents may be inadvertently lost or misplaced, and witnesses may no longer be available. In cases where there isn’t documentation to reference for a business dispute, attorneys become reliant on the credibility of witnesses when litigating the case. This is not as reliable as having detailed documents to reference. The party that maintains detailed records often has an advantage over the one that does not.

Failing to maintain detailed records can also cost businesses time and money.  Companies that implement policies requiring detailed record keeping put themselves in a position to minimize losses in the event that a lawsuit arises. Small and midsize businesses should evaluate record keeping procedures to ensure they are comprehensive and accurate. After all, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. 

Levin Ginsburg Partner Roenan Patt supports clients in our business litigation and trial practice. He has extensive experience in business disputes involving small and midsize businesses. Should you have any questions about business disputes or the type of records that a company should maintain in anticipation of a potential dispute, please contact Roenan or any Levin Ginsburg attorney at 312-368-0100.

Levin Ginsburg is a full-service law firm that prides itself on being counselors for all types of businesses and individuals. Regardless of your need, our attorneys exercise great care in being thorough, organized, and efficient in serving our clients.