For obvious reasons we are big proponents of businesses hiring and forging a relationship with a business law firm that can support their business. Over recent months though it has come to our attention that not all business attorney’s support their business clients as they should. It has led us to ask you, does your business attorney help promote your business’ growth or does he get in your way?
Before we get too far ahead in this conversation, this is not meant as a criticism of any attorney. Every attorney that is licensed in the State of Michigan takes an oath to zealously represent every one of their clients and some have a different views on what that zealous representation entails. It is important to interview your business attorney even after you have been with them for a while to ensure their representation of you is what you want it to be. Now with that out of the way on to the important stuff.
Business is always about growth. You might even be unique in the market but resting on what you have done leaves you vulnerable. Competition can catch up to you no matter how you are positioned in the market. You have to continue to build, evolve and grow your business in order to stay in front of the curve. With that in mind, your business attorney should see your vision for your business.
I am going to give you the two extremes of the “business attorney” to give you a full vision of the field.
BUSINESS ATTORNEY #1
Business attorney #1 zealously represents his clients by ensuring they do everything by the book and they never enter into any agreement that takes on unneeded risk. Agreements are always drafted heavily toward his clients and he sometimes advises clients to walk away from a deal because the other party will not agree to his terms.
BUSINESS ATTORNEY #2
Business attorney #2 leaves a lot of the decisions up to his clients. He doesn’t care what they are doing or how they are doing it. When it comes to agreements, he is happy if there is anything on paper and it capture the gist of the deal being struck.
Basically the two extremes are one side is way to over bearing and has too much control over what your business is doing. His idea of zealous representation is ensuring your business takes on little to no risk even if it is at the expense of your business moving forward. On the other side, the liberal approach is to allow your business to do whatever you think it needs to and whatever it takes to move forward.
In reality you probably want a business attorney that is somewhere in the middle. A business attorney should always make sure you are in compliance. This entails advising on what needs to be done whether you are expanding your facilities, opening up out of state or moving into a new market. At the same time, when a potential deal is on the table he shouldn’t get in the way of that deal. Advising on the contract and communicating the risks is very important so you can make an informed decision but whether you take on that risk or not should be up to you.
So where does your business lawyer stand on the spectrum? Is he helping your business grow? Sharing your vision for where you want it to go? Or is he a roadblock that is causing you to stumble at times? This goes for all of those that are part of your team. Top business owners do what they do best to make money and put a team around them to handle everything else. But at the same time, those team members are spurring growth through the vision of that business owner. You should expect the same in your business.