Companies caught up in the fallout from the sub-prime mortgage crisis are scrambling these days to cope with two principal risks: a liquidity crunch—which can range from a higher cost of capital to a lockout from capital markets entirely—and increased exposure to lawsuits.

The credit crunch is already forcing companies to be more conservative about their liquidity positions. The lawsuits are also well under way. Individual investors have started filing securities- and investment-related claims, either in the form of a traditional lawsuit or as an arbitration claim, says Peggy O’Neil, a partner at the law firm King and Spalding. Class-action suits ...