Among the countless worries for small-to-medium size businesses is the question of whether they need a business attorney. The perception is that attorneys charge high rates and many businesses don’t have much, if any, extra capital with which to pay lawyers. As a result, many business owners only hire an attorney when confronted with a serious legal problem (i.e., a lawsuit). However, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of the cure.
From day-to-day operations to long-term decision making, businesses consider what the return on the investment will be. It is also wise to consider the legal implications. For example, hiring processes and buying decisions can have significant legal impacts (especially if something goes wrong) that an experienced business attorney can quickly sort through. For example, by the time a prospective employee files a lawsuit claiming gender discrimination based in part upon questions posed at the job interview, the only option is to hire an attorney to defend the lawsuit. On the other hand, these lawsuits can be avoided by knowing which questions can and cannot (i.e., whether the applicant is pregnant or planning on becoming pregnant) be asked during an interview. These small efforts save businesses costly headaches.
Many businesses think their choice is between having in-house counsel or employing outside counsel on an hourly basis. Given these choices, the reality becomes one of expensive in-house counsel or no legal counsel at all. However, a middle ground does exist: Quasi-Inhouse Counsel.
Quasi-inhouse counsel specializes in business matters, and serves as in-house counsel on a part-time, flat fee basis. In exchange, the business gets on demand legal, risk, and business services. This allows the attorney to know the business intimately, help identify exactly where the business may be vulnerable to lawsuits, and advise on steps to reduce the risks. They know the business motivations, constraints, and aspirations. Most importantly, the legal and business goals become aligned — to grow the business.
If you would like to know more about how your business can get high-quality legal services at a fraction of the cost, contact Jones Legal Office for a free consultation.
Gerri Jones, Jones Legal Office