Saturday, July 28, 2007

Why a business needs a lawyer

Does your business rely on any of these things:

1. Your ability to write good, enforceable contracts?
2. Your ability to understand contracts from those you do business with?
3. Knowing and meeting state and federal regulations affecting your business?

If you answered "YES" to any of these questions, then ask yourself how much money you are losing doing all this by yourself? If your time can better be spent doing something else for the business, then why does your business not have a lawyer?

Okay, that explains half of the question, but a business needs a lawyer for objective advice as much as it does for the preparing of documents. That makes the whole answer as to why a business needs a lawyer.

But how is the business to afford a lawyer and the lawyer to afford providing services? My solution involves getting away from hourly billing and move to varying my costs according to the job and client. Hourly billing remains for the unique document preparation and for some defense litigation. It also means that the client understand that a little cost for prevention saves a lot when faced with litigation. I provide consultations on a monthly fee that slides from $400.00 per month for nothing more than the client being able to call me up with any questions to $1,500.00 per month where there is advice and document drafting. In between lies the variances - some will need less consistent document drafting, others will have simple documents but not very often, and others will complicated documents drafted every so often - and the fees should also vary from slightly higher monthly fee to just adding the contracts on a la carte or a reduction in the hourly fee for complicated document drafting.

With the costs known upfront, businesses get fewer surprises and can budget accordingly. Even litigation can be handled on something besides an hourly rate. Where failing to prevent legal problems - and there are a myriad of those pitfalls for any business - can mean the end of the business, the business owner needs an attorney. Lawyers need to educate their business clients how lawyers can help their businesses. Both lawyers and clients need to talk about what services they need and how to provide them.