How to avoid legal problems in business

Running a business, large or small, requires a good degree of business acumen and planning.  Business owners regularly review their marketing plans, inventory, and their customers to adjust themselves to an ever-changing market.  But how do you avoid legal problems that can plague a business and drain its resources?  One easy word; planning.

Too often business owners are lulled into believing that their legal documents, such as contracts, non-competes, and even their lease, are working just fine.  The old adage, “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it”, doesn’t apply well to legal documents because only the trained legal mind of a qualified business lawyer truly knows whether the documents are working as they were intended.  Thus, scheduling regular reviews of a business’ legal documents with your attorney is a good idea to reduce problems later.

One important legal concept for business owners to discuss with counsel is their liability exposure.  Insurance can cover many areas of liability, but some businesses may find it economically advantageous to self-insure in some areas.  Discussing, for example, the potential liabilities at a business’ own premises by conducting a walk-thru without your business attorney can develop ideas that limit liability exposure.  Is your business attorney looking at your premises and suggesting, for example, installing close-circuit cameras at certain locations?  The relatively minor cost of a few hundred dollars may save a business thousands later in a baseless slip-and-fall.  Also, in negotiating and planning transactions, it is a prudent move to involve your business attorney to be sure that certain issues are addressed by the documents for the transaction.  Yes, there is a cost for the lawyer, but it will be far less than the future lawsuit.

A client of the Law Office of David Steinfeld performs a very special and proprietary weight loss system for large businesses.  Most of that client’s customers naturally want to know just how they achieve such a high degree of success.  If that client disclosed the information, there is a possibility that the larger and very sophisticated customers would simply try to replicate the process to the detriment of the client.

In examining the situation, the Law Office of David Steinfeld suggested and developed a multi-step program for the client to allow them to safely present the information without the risk of suffering a catastrophic theft of their trade secrets.  That program has insured the long-term success of the client’s business and equally allowed the client to identify potential customers who only wanted to steal their method.  This type of low cost planning with counsel can be invaluable to a business and ensure its success for many years to come.  When was the last time your business sat down with counsel to review documents, plans, and discuss liability exposure?

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