top of page
  • Writer's pictureLindsay Spiller

Contract Disputes in California: How investing in Contract Review Can Save You Time and Money

Updated: Dec 31

A photo of a lawyer redlining a contract

Contracts are an essential part of conducting business in California. Whether you're a small business owner, a contractor, or an individual agreeing with another party, having a well-drafted contract can help ensure that everyone is on the same page and that all parties interests are protected. However, disputes can arise, which can be costly when they do.

The Cost of a Civil Lawsuit Over a Contract in California

The cost of a civil lawsuit over a contract in California can be high. Legal fees can quickly add up to tens of thousands of dollars or more, depending on the case's complexity and the amount of damages sought. For example, a 2018 survey by the American Bar Association found that the median cost of a contract dispute in California was $91,000. According to a 2020 National Center for State Courts report, the average cost of a civil trial in California is $42,000. This figure includes court fees, attorney fees, expert witness fees, and other expenses.

The Benefits of Effective Contract Management Practices

Given the high cost of litigation, it's essential to take steps to prevent disputes from arising in the first place. One way to do this is by having an attorney vet your contracts before signing them. While it may seem expensive upfront, investing in legal services can save you money in the long run. According to a 2019 International Association for Contract and Commercial Management survey, organizations that invested in effective contract management practices could reduce their legal costs by 30%.

A well-drafted contract can help prevent disputes by establishing clear expectations and obligations for all parties involved. By including provisions in the contract that define the scope of work, payment terms, and deadlines, among other things, you can help ensure that everyone is on the same page from the outset. This can help prevent misunderstandings and disagreements that could lead to legal disputes.

In addition to preventing disputes, a well-drafted contract can help protect your interests if a dispute arises. By including provisions that address potential issues and define the parties' obligations, you can help prevent disputes from escalating and potentially avoid costly litigation. Contracts can include provisions that specify what happens if one party breaches the agreement, such as liquidated damages or other remedies.

If a dispute does arise, it's important to remember that litigation can be costly and time-consuming. In addition to legal fees, litigation can take months or even years to resolve, during which time you may be unable to use the funds or assets tied up in the dispute. This can be especially problematic for small businesses or individuals who may not have the resources to weather a lengthy legal battle. By working with a contract or small business attorney, you can evaluate your options and develop a strategy for resolving any disputes that arise, potentially helping you achieve a favorable outcome with minimal disruption to your business or personal life. An experienced startup attorney can also help new companies develop a solid legal foundation, including drafting and reviewing contracts to help prevent disputes from arising in the first place.


Effective contract management practices and legal services are essential for protecting your interests and minimizing legal costs in California. Investing in contract review and drafting services and working with an experienced business attorney can help prevent disputes, protect your interests if a dispute does arise, and take proactive steps to minimize legal risks. Whether a small business owner or a startup entrepreneur, working with an experienced attorney can help you navigate legal complexities and avoid expensive litigation.


Spiller Law is a San Francisco business and entertainment law firm. We serve clients in the San Francisco Bay Area, Silicon Valley, Los Angeles, and throughout California. Feel free to arrange a free consultation using the Schedule Appointment link on our website. For other questions, feel free to call our offices at 415-991-7298.


The information provided in this article is for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice or opinion. Readers are advised to consult with their legal counsel for specific advice.

bottom of page