Thursday, April 24, 2008

Making the Most of Your Lawyer

Thanks to Wilmington North Carolina Business Law and Litigation Attorney Blog for the lead to Getting the Most From Your Attorney from The New York Enterprise Report.

The Wilmington North Carolina Business Law and Litigation Attorney Blog noted the following and I want to add an amen to this statement:

...In the third item on Dan's list is one I always emphasize:

Use lawyers to prevent problems, not just fix them. Many small businesses do not have attorneys until they think they need them. You need to make sure you are proactive in identifying legal issues before they become problems, and problems before they become lawsuits.

I would personally prefer to have my days be filled with short, simple, inexpensive legal work that solves problems and ends them, instead of having them filled with long, complicated, intractable and expensive problems. The latter might ultimately be slightly more lucrative for the attorney, but my view is that both myself and my clients are best served when the problems are handled while they are still small, manageable, easy to handle, and cost little to solve.
I would add something to points 2, 4, and 9 about selecting attorneys. There is a growing trend for outside general counsel. What is this? In-house counsel who are not employees but provide all the services of in-house counsel. I am aware of two companies providing this kind of service: In House Legal and Outside GC. I have been offering this sort of service for several years now. The point is not to select one counsel for a particular matter or networking with lawyers but having a lawyer acting as outside general counsel who has the network in place and knows the business objectives of the client.