There’s no question about it: we live in a lawsuit happy world. And if you are in business of just about any kind, you will at some point be potentially liable for a lawsuit. A good business lawyer can be your greatest defense for sustaining and protecting your valuable business.
Unfortunately, many small business owners try to wing it on their own when facing a threat or potential lawsuit. Many think that because they have spent so much time in their business, having learned the ins and outs of creating and building it and dealing with customers and suppliers and associates, they can handle the legal issues before them and save the costs of legal advice.
But that is simply not the case in most circumstances.
Love ‘em or hate ‘em, lawyers are a fixture of our culture, and a business lawyer is a clear necessity in our modern business world. There’s simply too much at stake not to take advantage of legal counsel when you have a legal problem. A business lawyer can be a life line to a business owner who has been thrown overboard in the treacherous sea of business dealings.
A knowledgeable business lawyer can provide information, strategies, and counsel to protect a business owner who is wise enough to consult one. While the business owner may know everything imaginable about increasing revenues and making sales and developing business plans, he probably knows far too little about how to protect those ideas and assets.
We would all like to think that being in business is really about having fun and helping each other out. Sure, there is some of that, but most people in business are there to MAKE MONEY, end of story. And if you working in their world limits or merely challenges their goal or ability to make money, there is going to be war. Maybe not bullets and bombs, but war nonetheless.
In addition, running a business entails so many personal relationships, such as employer to employee, contractor to subcontractor, and buyer to seller. In all of these and more, there is human interaction, often on a daily basis, and because people have differing goals and beliefs and intentions, there will be conflict. How to deal with issues that arise out of those relationships is crucial to the health of a business and its owner.
For all of these reasons, lawsuits abound in the business world. Business people are quick to sue anyone they think did something wrong, whether it is true or not.
Having spent a significant amount of time in law school and business, I can say with assurance that MOST PEOPLE DO NOT KNOW THEIR RIGHTS, and this applies to business relations as much as any other. A business lawyer can provide vital information to business owners on topics such as:
- what duties an employer owes her employees
- how to handle a personal conflict within a business context
- how to respond to a lawsuit threat
- what to say and what to never say to an opponent
- the critical issue of record keeping
- how compliance to codes and statutes can affect your business
- how to deal with government entities
To speak in pure economic terms, consulting a business lawyer is a business decision. The ROI (return on investment) of consulting an attorney far outweighs not consulting one, in most circumstances. For example, if getting legal advice requires an investment of $500 and doing so protects the owner from making a poor decision, which would result in a lawsuit costing in the tens of thousands of dollars, it is easy to project the effective ROI of a consultation in terms of money. It is actually very, very high. And the savings of not getting legal advice ($500) could ultimately be a cost of twenty to thirty times that amount in court orders, litigation, and injunctions. That means a poor investment.
If people were always nice and forgiving and benevolent, there would be no reason for attorneys. But we all know legal conflicts are a part of life. Knowing and consulting a sharp business lawyer can be a vital asset to your business, because in working with him or her, you are making an investment in your business security, and the payoff is huge.