In my personal experience, most of America has a general dislike for attorneys even though most people agree that lawyers provide valuable information and are a great asset to your team. I think most people are afraid of opening the door for an unsightly legal bill. However, legal services for business owners are just like preventative medicine. Pour a little time and attention into your business’ legal health up front to minimize the risk of terminal illness later. Here are 3 benefits to investing in proactive legal services:
We can pretty much all agree that regular check ups at the doctor’s office are a highly beneficial practice. You get to bring up any questions or concerns you have about your personal health and you get reassurance that you are living in a way that leads to longevity and productivity. If you do happen to be sick, regular check ups tend to catch sickness and disease in its earliest and most curable stages.
Legal check ups are no different. I check in with my clients on a regular basis, whether it is monthly, quarterly, or half-yearly to see whether their business is operating in compliance with state and federal laws. If I discover a problem, generally it’s a minor problem that we have plenty of time to correct before it becomes a major problem and a major threat to the business (that’s the early and curable state). My clients also have the opportunity to share new business ideas with me and I can give advice on how to pursue those ideas and opportunities while remaining in compliance with state and federal regulations.
Most business owners call an attorney when they’re in a pinch. They’ve been sued by a competing business, an employee has made a wage claim, or OSHA has cited them for safety violations. This is one of the most expensive times to find and hire an attorney. Not only will you need to find an attorney on a time-restricted basis, which makes it harder to shop around, but the new attorney will spend hours upon hours (aka $$$) getting to know your business and your practices.
If you take the preventative medicine model seriously, you’ll have an attorney on retainer that already knows your business. He or she knows your employees and has already identified your potential areas of liability. When that lawsuit comes (and it always does) your counsel will be able to dive right into your defense because they know you. You won’t have to waste precious hours and money getting a new attorney up to speed.
Being legally proactive and hiring an attorney on retainer for you business gives you a boost over your competition. It allows you to move with confidence as you grow your business because you will know before you take the next step what the potential consequences (both positive and negative) are from the legal perspective. Once the risks have been identified, you can move swiftly into action knowing that an attorney is supporting you along the way.
Think about it, how convenient would it be to call up your attorney and get a quick answer to a question you have? Not only will you eliminate doubt and concern, but you will begin to move with speed and efficiency with your trusted attorney on speed dial.
So, take some time and find an attorney you can identify with. Think of him or her as your business’ physician and consider the advice and counsel given as preventative medicine.
In this case, I think Benjamin Franklin said it best:
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
What do you think?
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