There are many reasons why small- to mid-size companies need good, dedicated business legal counsel. The reasons why businesses need good business legal counsel fall into three basic categories: business strategy, business risk management, and business negotiations.
There are often easy “fixes” for common business problems that non-lawyers miss. For example, many savvy business people think that you have to “bring a partner into the company.” That can be a bad idea. Just as you wouldn’t bring a relative stranger into your home or marry one, you may not want to “marry” a potential business partner by giving him the keys to your business that you’ve worked so hard to build. Because giving someone a share of your company is doing just that. Instead, there are many ways to work with a partner safely and cleanly, such as via a joint venture. In a joint venture, two companies or even individuals can work together closely in a clearly-defined way – via a joint-venture agreement – and can simply go their separate ways easily and cleanly if the joint venture doesn’t work out. By contrast, trying to get a controlling shareholder out of your company can be messy and costly. That’s only one example of a solution that a good business lawyer would know to implement – and it’s an aspect of business strategy that companies can’t afford to ignore. There are thousands of other examples of important business strategy issues from a legal point of view, and a good business attorney will be able to help with them.
Business Risk Management
Another way in which good business legal counsel can help is via helping businesses to recognize risks that may be hidden in plain sight but unknown to the lay-person. For example, how many people know the difference between unfair competition and fair competition under the Lanham Act? Or how many people can tell what kind of branding will violate someone’s trademark and what branding will not? Or whether a non-competition clause for a former employee is enforceable and for how long? These are things that a good business lawyer can often help with. But the list is of course endless. Good business attorneys are a resource that can avoid costly mistakes before they start.
For business negotiations, no one can get a deal done like a good business lawyer. They can negotiate an agreement by “getting to yes,” finding the point of common interests and finding creative ways to meet those interests while addressing each side’s concerns. So that the real business of the company can get back the contract negotiations and on to the real work of the company.
How Not to Break the Bank to Get Great Business Legal Services
One of the innovative and indeed disruptive ways to get great business legal services is via fractional general counsel services. Instead of breaking the bank and paying high law-firm fees or hefty salaries for in-house lawyers, you can get a fractional general counsel lawyer who is dedicated to your business and costs a tiny fraction of what you would pay for outside counsel or a regular in-house general counsel. In this way, you can reap the benefits of the three ways in which business lawyers add value without paying a fortune to do so.