I was fiddling around the internet last evening and came across an article: “How to Hire an Attorney” by Cliff Ennico, part of the Starting a Business series at Entreprenuer.com (http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/58326).
Overall, it’s good, thoughtful with thorough analysis. There was one comment that caught my attention about 2/3 through the article, under ‘questions to ask yourself’:
“Is this person really a frustrated businessperson disguised as a lawyer? ….. Be wary of a lawyer who takes too keen an interest in the nonlegal aspects of your work.”
Well, I’d say be wary of a business attorney who does not understand your business and has no interest in the nonlegal aspects of your work. Which aspects of your business are nonlegal? Is there a business panic room you can get into for protection from the liability you incur from the nonlegal aspects of your work?
So I have a question: How can I draft any contract for your business if I don’t know about the “nonlegal aspects of your work.”
A business attorney should be a trusted advisor who knows all about your business to properly protect your business now and prepare it for growth.
Generally, Business has 4 key Parts:
1.Sales. Nonlegal? Wait until you’re sued for commission wages because the program was not established properly (note you will be paying his attorney’s fees too under most state laws). Or better yet, wait until the customer sues because the sales person “threw in” a few extras and your customer contract is ambiguous.
2.Marketing. Nonlegal? Wait until the FCC or State Consumer Protection regulators contact you for your practices. In March of 2010, the Washington State Attorney General’s Office reached a settlement with Penguin Windows over sales practices and claims made in ads, claiming misrepresentation, making false claims about the energy savings, and misleading consumers about in-home sales calls. By February of 2011, Penguin was shutting down – they are now gone. (http://www.king5.com/story/news/local/2014/07/31/12937668/).
3.Operations. Nonlegal? Wait until your team grinds to a stop because your vendor/supplier or customers break contracts (Big Box will do this to you with 30 days notice) and you have no recourse. What happens if 1099 labor sues for benefits – probably should make sure that contract is sound and your business practices follow the law (see 1 above – their attorneys’ fees could be your bill).
4.Administration Nonlegal? Wait until you are sued for wrongful termination or discrimination and have no Human Resource Policies and Procedures to protect you. Effective Administration is all legal – it’s the guardrails of the business.
A business leader’s primary responsibility is to always focus on the future, look over the horizon and see opportunities to pursue and pitfalls to avoid.
A good business attorney is strategic advisor and focuses on the best interests of the business now and in the future.
Decide what you want your company’s future to be and call General Counsel, P.C. for a consultation and legal fitness checkup on your company’s operations, stress points, structure, HR Policies and Procedures (strategic HR not just administrative “where’s my vacation time on my pay slip?” type HR) and team needs so you can grow a great business – a living company that can survive and thrive in the future.
General Counsel P.C. has the expertise, skill and–the real key–unique experience of running companies as C Level Executives that makes a difference when advising our clients on: (i) structuring operations for efficiency and legal protection (which means more value); (ii) administration (not just overhead but value added elements); and (iii) Sales/Marketing (proper incentive based compensation causing the behavior that drives results!).
See your future. Plan your future. Attain your future.
General Counsel, P.C. Corporate and Tax Practice Group
General Counsel, P.C. – Every Business Needs a General Counsel: General Counsel’s Business and Tax Practice Group has over 40 years of professional experience in counseling business owners on all aspects of business and tax matters. Our attorneys have extensive experience representing a wide range of local, regional, and national companies and business ventures.