14:47 24 May in News, Walker Foster

To be blunt, most of you will only visit a solicitor when you have to.  I used to feel the same way about dentists until I discovered that a regular check-up could avoid irregular attendances for emergency treatment involving a lot of pain (both physical and financial).  As a business owner you would not wait for a crisis before acting in your business.  I suspect that you put a great deal of effort into planning ahead, to assist you in making decisions for the future of your business.  A good solicitor can be of great assistance in this process.

If you do only ever engage a solicitor on an “as needs be” basis or as a crisis purchase, I would advise you to take a fresh outlook.  I would also recommend that you engage with a solicitor who is willing to get to know you and your business.

Some solicitors do not like to talk about money but I would suggest that you ensure that you pin down the fees at the outset.  For example, will the fees be fixed or capped?  Or, in disputes, will the fees be ‘no win, no fee’ or on a discounted basis?  You should seriously consider a retainer with your solicitor, in which a solicitor will be on hand to provide you with advice on legal issues that arise during the running of your business in return for a monthly fixed payment.  In all likelihood, this will reduce your costs.  It will also help you to budget and assist in helping to develop that all important relationship without the worry of the ticking clock ramping up fees.

Your solicitor can be an excellent sounding board and another valued member of your team and, of course, can be essential if you want to protect your business in the commercial world.  Properly drafted business terms, contracts, agreements and leases not only protect your interests but also positively convey to others how well you run your own business.

Shareholders’ Agreements, Partnership Agreements, service agreements and employment contracts not only protect the individuals involved in the business but also help it to deliver continuity.

Value and use your solicitor’s legal expertise and his commercial experience and awareness.  He is only a ‘phone call away and you shouldn’t wait for a crisis to contact him.- Keith Hardington

Walker Foster Solicitors

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