Value-Added Lawyering

What Can a Business Lawyer Add to Your Business?

Your colleagues and fellow small business owners may be utilizing lawyers in the operation of their business. If you aren’t using a lawyer to assist you in your business, you may be asking yourself what value or benefit do they derive from this relationship?

Value-added lawyering focuses on the business side of lawyering. Focusing the lawyer’s attention on the dollars and cents of a business transaction as well as the language and ramifications of her client’s particular contractual interest.

A business lawyer’s role as your advisor encompasses much more than simply knowing the rules of law or the cannons of business ethics. Value-added lawyering provides business clients with well drafted contracts that contain the best contractual language and creative compromises for your business. This type of lawyering takes away the belaboring of the hard-line positions that lawyers often take out of habit, spite, fear of being second-guessed, or sometimes out of the desire to “posture” for the benefit of looking good for their clients. For the transactional lawyer, her involvement comes when two opposing points of view arise between contracting parties on a significant issue. When the parties cannot agree upon a solution. It is now the lawyer’s job to come up with a creative solution to make the deal happen. Without an agreement as to each and every disputed issue in a contract, business is at a stand still.

A good business lawyer is not the breaker of a deal, she is the maker of a deal. A good business lawyer finds the problems - then solves them. Lawyer negotiators never allow an impasse between the parties to sabotage an otherwise lucrative deal for their clients, they devise compromises that honor the basic needs of both parties without subjecting either to adverse consequences, all the while advocating for her client.

Business lawyers write and interpret contracts for their clients that protect them when things go awry. Business lawyers are hired to anticipate what can go wrong in the future, i.e. what bad things other people could do in the future and what will happen to her clients if they do. Business lawyers not only invent the future, they minimize the chances of litigation for their clients. A Business lawyer is five times more valuable for her clients in securing a transaction than a litigator is in fighting over a good deal gone bad.

A business lawyer’s value is measured when she forms an activist posture, and devises and implements a constructive measure to achieve her client’s interests. This does not take place purely within the walls of the law. This is a creative process that requires her to decide between alternative courses of action all of which are legal in nature and each of which has different risks, benefits, and rewards to her client.

Many clients ask their business lawyers “Why do lawyers always jump to the unfavorable possibilities that might arise? Why don’t you ever look to all the great benefits of the contract? The bottom line - Business lawyers are paid to look after your bottom line and the lawyer on the other side is doing the same thing. Value-added lawyering focuses on the dollars and cents of making a deal happen on terms that make sense to your business, now and in the future.

This web site is designed for general information only. The information presented at this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship.

Law Office of Cristi L. Michelon | 132 E. Figuero Street | Santa Barbara, CA 93101 | (805) 882-2226 / (805) 882-2227 (fax)