Legal Assistance for Businesses
When legal experts suggest, "You need professional help," heed their sage counsel.
As an executive, manager, or entrepreneur, you have one over-arching, all-consuming, inviolable purpose and mission-growing the business. You have devoted your skills, talents, enthusiasm, passion, and all things precious to building your brand and tattooing it on buyers' consciousness. Nothing should deter you from that mission.
Among the plethora of issues that may distract you from generating revenue and maximizing profits, legal issues have by far the greatest potential for trapping you in a major mire of quicksand and slowly dragging you under. Common sense and all the experts strongly recommend, "Stay out of the muck!" While you should have working knowledge of employment and liability laws that affect your everyday operations, you must entrust the legal technicalities to the people with degrees, licenses, and professional affiliations to genuinely protect you and your assets.
What to know, and when to let go
You probably learned the basics of contracts, property, and "torts" during your years in business school, discovering that a simple premise stands at the heart of each specialty. Contracts require people to honor their obligations and keep their promises. Property law regulates how people buy, sell, and maintain their little pieces of terra firma, mandating that, if you own it, you should take care of it. "Torts," an Anglo-Saxon word for "wrongs," require people to do their civic and personal duty. If you cause a personal injury because you have failed to do your duty, the law inevitably has a "tort" for that. Powers of observation generally reveal salient legal issues, and a fundamental sense of fair play usually guides you to a just reconciliation of the issues. When tempers flare and people get mean, nasty, greedy, hostile, menacing, or unbearably rude, bring on the lawyers.
If you work in the corporate world, you should learn as much as you can about recent developments in sexual harassment in the office and workplace injury law, so that you can protect the company against expensive litigation. If you work in human relations, you may sometimes forego your continuing education in psychology, but you must stay up-to-the-minute in your command of federal and state employment and compensation statutes, precedents, and regulatory notices. Use your knowledge to set corporate standards and policies. Let the attorneys do all the rest.
If you own and operate your own business, you need professional guidance through the legal minefield commonly known as "liability issues." Your insurance agent undoubtedly coaches, counsels, harangues, bullyrags, and hard-sells you on the million ways you, your workers, your products and services are vulnerable to litigious customers and clients. If someone in or around your business actually has a liability claim, let the insurance company wrangle and haggle with the disgruntled party; but retain your own separate counsel in a liability case just to be sure.
Do not antagonize the lawyers
Because attorneys cultivate their minds to argue all sides of every issue, they learn to like everybody and just about everything. They do, however, make one prominent exception: Attorneys universally and unanimously detest people pretending to be lawyers and imagining they are starring in their own private episodes of "Law and Order." Remember all the verbs we associate with lawyers and their profession-counsel, advocate, argue, represent, contest, appeal, and plead. When you need any or all of those actions, let the professionals manage them.