1. Educate your lawyer about your business – We may know the law (that’s our job) but we do not necessarily know YOUR business. Educate us. Bring us in to the office, let us play around with the product or let us taste the food! Basically, don’t let your lawyer work on assumptions. If you want a tailored, personal service from your lawyer, you have to help them to understand YOU, your EMPLOYEES and your BUSINESS.
2. Maintain good housekeeping – Lawyers will always need to see the paperwork so do yourself a favour and get the paperwork ready. Get all your business contracts together in one place. If possible categorise them by product, by year or by client, whichever, so long as it is ORGANISED! Get every receipt and financial document in a finance folder (electronic is fine) and put all key correspondence (letter, email, text) in a tidy place. Good document management enables your lawyer to hit the ground running from the minute you instruct them. The SOONER you start the better as there is nothing worse than trawling through years of paper/emails. Good document management is also a life saver when you want to attract investors or apply for a loan. This is the famous paper trail!
3. Give realistic deadlines – Most good lawyers will always want to do a Rolls-Royce job. If you need your lawyer to help you review a contract or draft an agreement or settle a dispute, give them as much NOTICE as possible and ASK your lawyer how long they will need. This puts the onus on the lawyer to manage their time and to assess the situation efficiently. If you give your lawyer a day to build Rome you will most likely receive a job riddled with errors or even worse, a great piece of work BUT a disgruntled lawyer who starts to put you at the bottom of the pile and er…dodge your calls.
Do these three things and your lawyer will respect you and work hard for you!
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