Let’s face it, the word “lawyer” for many is akin to a four letter expletive that people are offended by. Typically because it reminds people of getting sued and/or having to shell out, often unexpectedly, loads of cash that they rather have spent elsewhere…like on a vacation. Similarly, like in all professions, not all lawyers are created equal, and not all lawyers really have their client’s financial interests at heart – after all, being a lawyer and having a law firm is a business. I personally pride myself on NOT taking advantage of my clients…giving them direction on how they can do things themselves and helping only where they REALLY need/want it…but after 18+ years in the legal field, I know that not all lawyers share my same client-friendly mindset. It is no wonder that people cringe at the thought of having to use a lawyer.
Lawyers don’t have to be a thorn in your side through. In fact, a good lawyer can be a business’s greatest adviser and advocate – keeping in mind that a job of a lawyer is to tell you what you NEED to hear which can sometimes be very different than what you WANT to hear. All businesses should have a lawyer or two that they keep in regular contact with and it should be part of your regular business operating budget.
Before you go thinking I’m crazy, here are a few reasons that keeping your lawyer updated on the goings on of your business is advantageous:
- Lead Generation: Your lawyer can often be your biggest cheerleader (and lead generator) for future customers. Chances are your lawyer is tapped into many different networks. You never know when someone they know will need your business’s products or services and a solid referral from your lawyer could be future revenue in your pocket.
- Idea Generator: An attorney that understands you, your business, and your goals can be an invaluable asset when it comes to creative thinking. Brainstorming on new ideas with your lawyer may prove to be helpful in that they may be able to think of concepts outside the box for your business that you may not have already thought about. What if that lawyer helps you generate the next million dollar idea?
- Cost Cutting: One thing that many lawyers are good at is organizing and streamlining processes – it’s part of the way we think. What if your lawyer was able to give you ideas on how to streamline an existing process that will considerably help cut costs moving forward? If a few hundred dollars for your lawyer’s time on the telephone could save you thousands of dollars in the next year, wouldn’t you do it? Sure you would. You’d be a fool not to.
- Risk Mitigation: When you brainstorm with your lawyer on a new business concept, they can often help you plan your road-map to reach your goals and help you navigate around pitfalls that you might not even think about. For example, when clients come to me talking about setting up a new business I always ask them the business name and ask if they have considered any reputation issues with that new business name. The same goes for contracting issues, employee issues, etc. To that end as well, there is a LOT of bad information being circulated around on the internet. Indeed it is wise to conduct your own research but don’t you think it prudent to have your research double-checked by someone who knows where to actually find the correct information when it comes to the law? As Dr. Emily So once said, “better information means better ideas, means better protection.”
- Cost Effective: It is a lot cheaper to keep your lawyer up to speed on your business as it grows, even if through a short monthly 15 minute call, than it is to try and ramp your attorney up (trying to teach them everything about your business, including policy changes and the like in a short amount of time) when you suddenly need advice in order to be reactive to a situation – like when you are named as a defendant in a lawsuit. When you are named as a defendant in a lawsuit, you typically only have 20 days (varies by court and jurisdiction) from the date that you are served with a complaint in order to determine what your defenses are and what sort of a response you will need to file. That process becomes a whole lot easier if your attorney already knows about you, your business, it’s policies and procedures, etc. It is also easier to to budget in a few hundred dollars a month to keep your attorney up to date then to get smacked with a request for a $20,000.00 retainer, most of that potentially being eaten up just “learning” about your business, and then having subsequent large litigation bills.
As you can see, there are many reasons to regularly communicate with your attorney and hopefully you would find it more advantageous and beneficial than paying your monthly insurance bill. As Benjamin Franklin once said, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!”
If you are in the state of Arizona and are looking for that solid “friend in the lawyering business” consider Beebe Law, PLLC! We truly enjoy helping our business clients meet and exceed their goals! Contact us today.
All information contained in this blog (www.beebelawpllc.blog.com) is meant to be for general informational purposes only and should not be misconstrued as legal advice or relied upon. All legal questions should be directed to a licensed attorney in your jurisdiction.