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By: Nicolene Schoeman-Louw
Access to speedy, reliable and affordable legal services is crucial to entrepreneurs. As attorneys, we are in the business of selling time and legal expertise, and obviously to make a decent profit in doing so. For years now, the public’s main objection with how attorneys provide legal solutions has been the time we need to complete tasks or the lack of planning. There is a clear disconnect between what we wish to achieve as attorneys and how the public views what we do and how do we it. So, how do we remedy this disconnect?
The fact is, if we don’t find a way to bridge this gap; legal solutions will not keep up with the fast pace of a modern business and entrepreneurs will look elsewhere. This may result in them receiving poor legal solutions in the long run and will impact the success of the business. This is a real risk which, statistically, is one of the main causes of business failure, particularly in the case of a start-up or SME.
Moreover, the other option of running an in-house legal department does not make much sense to many businesses, particularly because it is not a revenue generating expense.
So, what to do???
I believe that entrepreneurs should partner with law firms who are willing to go on a journey with them. This journey is about remedying the disconnect while enhancing efficiency.
According to the dictionary, efficiency means “the state or quality of being efficient, or able to accomplish something with the least waste of time and effort; competency in performance.” Efficiency is key in order for the solution to be mutually beneficial.
First, identify aspects in your business which are repetitive in nature, such as a credit application or terms and conditions (“T&Cs”). Then look for a firm who is competent to review the documentation and finally automate your process. It is important that you contract with a firm that is not running any solutions as a separate entity. When contracting with a professional who is governed by a professional body there are inherent quality guarantees. . In essence, contracting with an entity — other than a partnership or Inc., or practicing firm of attorneys — may result in not having the necessary recourse you would normally have when contracting with an attorney.
The role of attorneys
Once you have updated your agreements and automated them through a reliable establishment, the role of your attorney shifts. Now they will annually review all the documents you regularly use to ensure that everything is still relevant and in line with best practice. The fact that it is optimized in this way ensures that the review process is efficient. The likelihood of missing something requiring update is significantly reduced. The completion is standardized and therefore the risk is limited.
Your attorney then becomes your specialist advisor in situations where simple or elementary solutions do not suffice, as opposed to trying to do it all or to project manage it all.
We long ago recognized this disconnect and have spent years creating what we believe to be the solution. This is only the beginning of where the revolution will take us. Making use of technology in driving your legal needs has the ability to propel businesses into success in a very efficient manner at a fraction of the traditional direct and time cost. This is a benefit for large and small businesses alike.
Click here for more on Nicolene Schoeman-Louw, SchoemanLaw Inc.