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What is a forum selection clause?

All disputes arising from this contract shall be resolved on top of this rock...

All disputes arising from this contract shall be resolved on top of this rock…

Generally in the law, if you need to sue somebody, you’ve got to go to where they are.

So if you do a wedding in Georgia and you’re from North Carolina, and that client resides in Georgia, you’ve got to go back to Georgia even though you’re in North Carolina (even if you hang your hat in Tennessee). If you’re from San Francisco and you need to sue somebody in Los Angeles, you’ve got to go to Los Angeles, most of the time.

So what a forum selection does is say, “Look, you and I can both agree that no matter who brings a lawsuit, me to you, you to me, it’s going to be at my home base.” So if you’re Wanker County Kentucky, you can select your forum as Wanker County, Kentucky. I’ve litigated cases against companies that go so far as to name the specific court within the county.

Choosing your forum is good because in the unfortunate event that you’re sued, you don’t want to have to go somewhere else or you don’t want to be in front of a jury of your peers that aren’t really your peers.

But most of the time, this works in your favor if for some reason you have to chase the money, because in your cost-benefit analysis, it might not be worth litigating in another state. But if all you’ve got to do is just drive two miles to your small claims court, that has a big effect on whether or not you’re going to bring that suit and get that money back, because again, the law says you usually have to go to where the defendant is. Does that make sense?

About 

Rob Schenk is one of the country’s most prominent “Wedding Lawyers,” a special designation for trial lawyers representing wedding and event industry professionals involved in business disputes and in transactional matters.
Rob was awarded Rising Star of 2015, 2016, and 2017 by Super Lawyers, an honor bestowed on only 2.5% of attorneys. Rob has previously been recognized by his colleagues with a Martindale-Hubbell’s AV Preeminent Rating. Rob is licensed to practice law in Georgia, Tennessee, Florida, California, and New York.

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