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How to Maximize the Value of Legal Counsel

Timothy LaBadie Essent Law

How to Maximize the Value of Legal Counsel

If you’re going to pay the price, you might as well get all the value. 

I was recently helping a family member use a newly purchased iPhone. This person is intelligent and savvy, yet there were a number of features on the phone that weren’t being used–that were lying fallow. Given the high price (retail, iPhones cost over $800), the person was not getting a full return on their investment. The whole reason an iPhone (or other high-end smartphone) costs so much is because it is so capable and can do much more than just send texts, respond to emails, make phone calls, etc.

In my experience, the same is true for business lawyers–their value isn’t maximized. Even very sophisticated clients (e.g., entrepreneurs with MBA degrees), know of the “basics” of using lawyers, but still leave a lot of value on the  table. (Maybe business schools should have a class on how to use experts, whether experts in law, engineering, or otherwise, in one’s life and business). So the question is: How should I best use my attorney or law firm? How do I maximize the return I get from the price of legal services?

How to get maximum value from legal counsel. 

The answer is actually really simple: keep your lawyer up to date with what’s going on in your business, in your world. This need not be time-consuming. For example, shoot them an email, text, or phone call saying, “Hey, in the process of hiring a new sales person, web designer, or ________.” or “Thinking of expanding operations into the _____ market.” These periodic updates confer some huge benefits:

  • It increases your life’s and business’s return (ROI)
    • Remember, Profit = Total Revenues — Total Costs.
    • Most of the time, though not always, lawyers manage risk (the cost side) rather than the “top line” by creating new revenue. So a business lawyers core function is to ensure that your revenue (pricing) is commensurate with your risk (costs) you are undertaking. What we are really talking here is good marketing and prudent finance.
  • You’re not going it alone, or doing business as usual.
    • You have another person in the creative or strategic-planning process that’s can bring fresh eyes to your organization or your endeavor; someone to shoulder the important burden of making difficult and important decisions. 
  • Law is ubiquitous.
    • The U.S. has more laws on the books (federal and state constitutional provisions, statutes, regulations, case law, ordinances, customary practices, etc., etc.) than any other country in the world. It’s not a question of if the law impacts your life and business–it’s a question of where and how much it does. Legal considerations, like financial/economic ones, are always there.

It’s like a parachute: you’re glad it’s available, but you’re sure as hell hope you’ll never have to use it” 

The unsophisticated, yet all-too-common way of using a business lawyer is that of the “break glass in case of emergency approach”. Preventative medicine is cheaper, less stressful, and works much, much better. Just fill your lawyer in; allow them to contribute and to add value to your endeavors.

Give Essent Law a ring or shoot us a message to tell us what’s going on in your world, what you’re working on, and where you’d like to go.

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