I recently shelled out tens of thousands of dollars for legal work. While that may seem like a big chunk of money – and it was, believe me – it could have been significantly more if I hadn’t know how to talk to my lawyer before the project began.
That’s not to say that all lawyers are shady. I’m simply saying that their goal is to help you get what you want, and unless proper parameters are set, they will continue to put time and (your) money into that project until you get what you want, no matter the cost.
Lawyers and legal work are necessities in the business world. You’ll need legal work when pulling together business plans, contracts, and the inevitable business lawsuit or courtroom negotiation. But if you don’t know what to ask, you could end up paying thousands more on unnecessary fillings, motions, and other legal tactics. Here’s what I always discuss with my lawyer up front.
What will this cost? If it’s a simple task, like reviewing a contract or drafting documents, your lawyer should be able to tell you the cost before you begin.
What is the strategy? For more time consuming issues, like courtroom proceedings, ask the strategy first. Don’t just assume you and your lawyer are on the same page. If you don’t understand the strategy, ask questions until you do. And if you don’t agree with it, don’t move forward until you can negotiate a better option or find a different lawyer.
How will we define success? Success is about more than a win. You can win the courtroom proceedings but lose financially due to filing extra motions, delays, etc. Determine what your best outcome options are and set parameters to measure success up front.
While there will often be changes when working through a legal situation, these three questions will give you a solid understanding of your costs and expectations up front. With the right mindset and the right questions, you’ll be able to walk through your legal situation with confidence.