This is a guest column from Terrence Church of the Walnut Creek Law Firm Brown, Church and Gee. We’re featuring this article because it really illustrates the point that it’s better to prevent problems than fix them - a notion Clare Computer Solutions has long espoused.
If an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, then why do businesses only call an attorney when the legal floodwaters are approaching nostril height?
One reason may be that management didn’t see the need. It’s easy to get used to the water lapping at your chin and lose sight of how close that is to serious consequences. Another is simply fear of a big bill. Different reasons yield the same results: fewer options at higher cost.
Part of the issue is, the legal profession has historically done a poor job of presenting attorneys as effective team members rather than hired guns. Large enterprises know the value of prevention – that’s why they have legal teams that are involved in every aspect of the business as a normal part of the firm’s internal risk management strategy. Smaller enterprises can do the same by embracing a new legal services paradigm.
Having a trusted legal advisor on your management team is an effective cost-saving practice. Many (if not most) of the legal problems that get business owners clamoring for a lawyer can be foreseen and prevented by someone on the inside who knows what to look for.
This represents a significant shift in the legal services paradigm. It can be an uphill battle for smaller enterprises who may not see the value of an embedded legal advisor. But experience shows that the best time to have a lawyer is before you know you NEED one. To the untrained eye, legal storms can appear seemingly out of nowhere. A trusted legal partner can often see clouds forming far out on the horizon and help steer the ship to safer waters.
If you like to stay ahead of problems, rather than fight fires all the time, why not apply this thinking to your firm’s risk management and legal strategy as well?