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Managing the Early Stages of Commercial Litigation

11 December 2017
Mayer Brown Book

While they may not be the most glamorous tasks faced by in-house and outside counsel, many of the actions that should be taken in the first days and weeks upon receiving a summons and civil complaint, such as issuing litigation holds, putting insurers on notice, and deciding whether to waive service of process, can be crucial to the action’s outcome. Early mistakes may not be easily undone and, thus, can haunt the company throughout the life of the litigation and beyond. In high-profile cases, the very public pressure placed on clients will promptly filter down to the lawyers charged with making these early decisions. Given the time constraints, the often now-or-never nature of decisions and actions, and the attendant pressures, sound and thoroughly considered decision-making during this period is crucial.

To assist in-house and outside counsel with key legal strategy issues that often arise early in a matter, we have written this booklet to provide a handy checklist of sometimes familiar tasks for in-house and outside counsel with extensive experience representing clients in civil litigation. Additionally, for in-house lawyers who do not handle a great deal of litigation, but who find themselves charged with managing a lawsuit for their client, we set out many of the issues that will arise during the early stages of a lawsuit and identify the important elements to be considered.

Authored by lawyers in the firm’s global Litigation & Dispute Resolution practice, “Managing the Early Stages of Commercial Litigation: Critical First Steps” is a practical booklet that serves as a valuable resource for in-house counsel and provides an overview of the common legal strategy issues that arise during the early stages of civil litigation matters and how to address them.

Download a digital copy of our booklet.


  • Catherine A. Bernard
    US Litigation Professional Support Lawyer
    T +1 202 263 3405
  • John M. Conlon
    T +1 212 506 2592
  • Andrew Z. Edelstein
    T +1 213 229 5156
  • Reginald R. Goeke
    T +1 202 263 3241
  • Michael P. Lennon Jr.
    T +1 713 238 2667
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