I just posted an article about what you should do if you’re ever sued. One of the many reasons every business needs a lawyer is to deal with a lawsuit when, not if, it happens. If you’re in business long enough, you will be sued. It’s unfortunate, but as a business owner you must be prepared.
Many business owners believe a lawyer is only necessary in the event of a lawsuit. In fact, a lawyer can help keep you from getting sued. Now, I understand that most people think lawyers love lawsuits because that’s where we make the real money. While that may be true, I prefer to keep my clients out of court if at all possible because going to court is always a losing proposition, for everyone except maybe the lawyers. Even if you win, you’ve paid a lawyer a bunch of money to represent you. Even if you get your attorney’s fees awarded, it might be impossible to collect them. Most of all, attention better devoted to your business has been diverted for months or even years to a lawsuit.
So how can a lawyer keep you from being sued? Boy, where do I start? By reviewing your contracts, by writing owners’ agreements, by being kept in the loop about your business relationships, by consulting with you on hiring and firing employees, by mediating disputes before they get out of hand, and by being an integral part of your management team. We are trained to look at everything with what-can-go-wrong x-ray vision that reveals things most business owners never think about. This allows us to see holes in agreements, weaknesses in processes, and relationships that are headed south in time to fix them.
Make it a point to meet with a business lawyer soon. At the very least, find out the ways in which they could help keep your business out of trouble. Your peace of mind is worth it.