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Can Legal Advice Really Add Value to Your Business?

calendar icon June 8, 2023 | author icon Author:  suppleadddmin | category icon Category :  Insights
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A long time ago our team members worked with a client that was a small company with limited funds, but with big ambition. Each project required large sums of capital investment upfront and it always needed more cash to fund ongoing operations. Its investments were speculative - always trying to find the right project to really hit the jackpot.  

While its management team understood the need to get lawyers involved in its project work, they tended to use them sparingly, or just for small aspects of a project, and always on a short leash. They’d get a quick look at a draft agreement here, some ad hoc advice on some risk there - but never bringing the lawyers fully into the tent.

The result - consistent issues with its contracts, delays, adverse relationships with key stakeholders and, at times, expensive litigation. All of these cost time and money and were always distracting the management team from the main game - their goals and objectives.

Moral of the story? Well that’s all a matter of perspective. From where we stand, we would like to say that getting us lawyers involved early, with all of the details, can reduce the potential for issues to pop up in the future.

When we started Quad Legal our idea was to move away from a transactional model - where businesses bring in lawyers reluctantly, and lawyers see themselves as outsiders. We wanted to work much more closely with clients to develop long-standing relationships and help them build, protect and realise the value in their businesses - together.

Well, you might say that all sounds great. But what does that mean in plain language?

Flexible support across your business life-cycle

First of all, it means being ready to help your business when it needs help.

We place a high priority on being flexible to support our clients. We want to provide skills and services that best fit each client’s requirements – even if they don’t fit within a regular package. And we want our offering to be able to adapt over the life of our client’s business.

We know that our support might need to change as your business evolves. Through consistent communication and understanding we prefer to work with our clients over the long haul, providing cost effective, but value adding advice no matter what the stage of business.

Strong business foundations

We see the value in helping you get stuff sorted out when you get started.  
Just getting the foundations in place can be a challenge when you’re starting a business. You might start with a couple of standard, off-the-shelf agreements or policies. Then before you know it  the business is taking off and you’re constantly playing catch up. As your business grows, there is more at stake in each transaction. Being proactive and looking to manage all things legal and compliance probably isn’t on top of your “to do list”.

Money (particularly cash flow) is the key.  Even when money is tight and cashflow is key - investing in a few hours of targeted legal advice can be a great investment / can save you a lot of time and angst later on. We can focus on the things our experience tells us will be important to your business in the future, some well drafted documents that are drafted for your business, can reduce the risks of your business becoming like the one in our story.

Identifying risks

Thirdly, we can provide value in helping you deal with the bumps in the road.

Once you are up and running, there are always legal issues for businesses to deal with.

As well as all the ones you know about and can plan for, there are all those issues you don't even know you should watch out for. Those are the ones that can really catch you out / that can really keep you awake at night.

One of the advantages of working for clients all around the world  is that we have seen most of the things that can go wrong. Through a combination of training and painful experience, seasoned commercial lawyers (like our team) do tend to put the “black hat” on and think about all the things that could go wrong and how they may impact your business if they do. We are also good at working out best to deal with those risks.

What does that mean for you? It means we’re perfectly placed to help you understand the kinds of commercial risks your business might be exposed to – including the ones you might not be aware of yet. And we can help you think about how you want to navigate those.

Just to be clear, that doesn’t mean we’re going to tell you how to run your business. Or warn you off taking chances to grow your business. You know best how it runs and what you need to do to grow and prosper. We know what we do best too - that’s to help you identify and manage those legal risks - even the ones you don’t know about.

We approach commercial risk sensibly. We know that you need to accept some risk to do business.  We also know that if you take all the risk in transactions, you will come unstuck at the first signs of turbulence in your business. The key is finding the right balance. This approach might be called “appropriate management of risk” - we call it “doing our job” - to protect your business and help you achieve your goals.

Confidence to make good decisions as you grow

We believe we can add value to your business by helping you make good decisions. As you begin to grow, your business becomes more complex and needs more planning and you do need to be more proactive and see the way ahead a bit more clearly.

Having the right information about your business environment will allow you to make good decisions and take advantage of, or even create, opportunities.
Being aware of different legal issues, for example, can make the difference between whether or not you can pitch for larger clients and opportunities.

Having the right advice can give you confidence to expand your services, or make business acquisitions. It can give you clarity on how best to share risk between counterparties and understanding of the risks you really have to manage. Or confidence about the points you can afford to ‘give away’ during negotiations to make the other party feel like they have had a win. All of which can be the difference between a good deal, no deal or a deal you may regret.

Too often external lawyers focus on the details of the law, and not really on what it means for their clients. Our idea is to change that.  We see our job as understanding your business and then seeing how we can help you be ready to take the next step. We’ll help you understand what you need to know, and what your options are, so you can make the right decision for your business.

Realising the value of your hard work

Lastly, we know that we can help maximise value when it is time to sell or move on from the business.

Even if you’re not thinking about this yet, when you do come to leave or sell down part of your business, you will be grateful for those strong foundations and the benefit of our advice during your expansion phase. Potential financiers or investors will see a well-managed business, with good foundations and structures to weather the good and bad of the business cycle.  Robust, well-managed, well documented businesses are easier to sell than those that haven’t done their homework.  Better prices, beneficial sale terms, more efficient transactions - all of these can be facilitated by working together with good lawyers, and other advisers, over time.

Realising the value of your hard work

Lastly, we know that we can help maximise value when it is time to sell or move on from the business.

Even if you’re not thinking about this yet, when you do come to leave or sell down part of your business, you will be grateful for those strong foundations and the benefit of our advice during your expansion phase. Potential financiers or investors will see a well-managed business, with good foundations and structures to weather the good and bad of the business cycle.  Robust, well-managed, well documented businesses are easier to sell than those that haven’t done their homework.  Better prices, beneficial sale terms, more efficient transactions - all of these can be facilitated by working together with good lawyers, and other advisers, over time.

Trusted advisors for the long term

So, when we started out with the idea of developing long-term relationships, that’s because we know how much good legal advice can help your business over time.

We absolutely understand that as a small business, needing to control costs, legal advice can seem like an overhead you can’t afford. But we also know the value we can add when we collaborate with you to achieve your business goals. As a sounding board, extra pair of eyes, different perspective, we can support you to navigate the challenges as your business grows.

The information in this article is provided for general information purposes only. It does not, nor is it intended to, constitute legal or other professional advice. The information provided is not intended to be a comprehensive review of all developments in the law and practice, or to cover all aspects of those referred to. Readers should take legal advice before applying it to specific issues or transactions.