Working Effectively with Your Lawyer: Five Tips to Effectively Engage and Use Legal Counsel

Like it or not, most business owners will require legal counsel from time to time.  In most circumstances, using legal counsel will be in the context of a transaction, like raising capital, buying a competitor, or bringing in a key employee.  In less pleasant circumstances, it may be in the context of litigation.  In either case, you can make a difference in how effectively you work with legal counsel and in keeping the costs down. [Read more…]

Working Effectively with Your Lawyer: Don’t “Recycle” Legal Work

Recycling is generally considered a good thing when it comes to trash.  It helps the environment and conserves resources.  However, in the context of legal work, it is not such a good thing.  Of course, when I use the word “recycle,” I don’t mean recycling the paper that the legal documents are on.  I’m talking about recycling the actual words on the page.  When a client “recycles” their lawyer’s work which was performed on a previous deal and uses it in a new deal, the client is asking for trouble. [Read more…]

Working Effectively with Your Lawyer: What can a client do to keep legal bills low?

One of the things that business people find most objectionable about the legal industry is the high cost of legal services. Bills often exceeds estimates, sometimes by many multiples. However, while many clients think that the size of the legal bill is something that is completely outside their control, the fact is it’s not. There are ways for clients to effectively work with their attorneys in a manner that can help keep the legal bill low. Recently, I came across an article by Tim Greene, founder of the site Fizzlaw.com, that has some great suggestions on ways clients can keep legal bills low. Here’s a link to his article: http://nyreport.com/node/81790. Below are the five suggestions Tim had in his article. (The sentences after each suggestion are my own thoughts; you should read the original article to get Tim’s): [Read more…]

Working Effectively with Your Lawyer: Don’t “Outsource” the Details of Your Deal

Having an effective relationship with your lawyer involves more than just hiring an attorney who is knowledgable and competent. You must also be able to work with your lawyer in a way that gets a deal done while protecting your interests. This is an interactive process that involves the active participation of both parties. All too often, I see clients ignore the details of their deals, often under the logic of “I pay him to handle all the details.” This is a perfectly understandable reaction. First, most entrepreneurs are “big idea” people, and are not detail oriented, so pouring through the 10 page representations and warranties section of a stock purchase agreement doesn’t exactly sound like a good time. Second, lawyers are expensive (many would say overpriced) and so clients want to see some tangible benefit to having hired them. Mitigation of risk arising from a deal is rarely tangible, but the luxury of not having to deal with the hassle or reading a dense 80 page agreement does seem like a tangible and tempting benefit. The problem is, this approach of “outsourcing” the details of your deal isn’t always in your best interest. Here are some reasons why: [Read more…]