If you are a small to medium business, you likely outsource your legal work on a piecemeal basis—employment lawyer, business lawyer, real estate lawyer, each only when needed. This type of outsourcing can be expensive because each attorney must get to know your business practices and financial needs. In practical terms, this means that you may do without legal advice (as a cost savings measure) for matters such as reviewing contracts and leases, dealing with employment issues and documenting business entity activities such as annual meetings, operating agreements or board resolutions. As a former general counsel, I can tell you that, in the long run, not getting the proper legal advice when needed may be more expensive than paying the legal bill.
Saving now; paying later.
I recently helped a small business entity whose landlord had allowed the leased commercial property to be foreclosed upon. Unlike residential foreclosure properties, commercial owners who buy at a foreclosure sale don’t have to honor a prior lease unless the prior lease protects the tenant by way of a non-disturbance clause. In my client’s case, there was no non-disturbance clause so the lease was automatically terminated when a new owner purchased the property at the foreclosure sale. If the tenant had engaged an attorney to review the lease prior to signing it, the attorney may have been able to protect the tenant from the more expensive and less protective lease the new owner demanded.
I know that lawyers have a reputation for complicating business transactions. I am often asked for “simple” contracts or leases. However, as the above example indicates, a simpler lease is most often less protective than a more complicated one. The more complicated lease might be a bit more expensive, but in the long run, the risks commercial tenants take by not getting legal advice can cost them more over the life of the lease as it did my clients.
Outsourcing Legal Work
It is perfectly sensible to outsource your legal work, rather than to hire an attorney directly. Very few small to medium size businesses have enough legal work to justify employed legal counsel. But outsourcing often requires hiring lawyers with different kinds of expertise—contracts, employment, leases, land use—each of these specialties requires that you pay an attorney to get to know you and your business practices in order to provide you with the best advice. How much better to engage a generalist as your first point of contact? As a former general counsel, I dealt with contracts, leases, employment matters, independent contractor agreements, policies and practices, job descriptions, acquisitions and divestments, and more. While not an expert in, for example, employment matters, as a generalist, I am experienced enough to evaluate the matter and, if I can’t confidently provide a resolution based on my experience, I can find you an attorney you can trust to handle your matter efficiently and cost effectively.
Looking For A General Business Attorney For Your Business?
Feel free to contact me regarding your legal needs and wants. We’ll have a short, low-cost consultation to see if we are a good fit. Call my office at 503-972-0400.