Uncategorized

Small Business Issues: You are Your Own Legal Team

As a small business owner, what do you do when you run into a legal issue?

the law

[Note: I am not an attorney, so this blogpost OF COURSE does not constitute legal advice. It’s just personal musings based on a 20-year fascination with the intricacies of the law. And thank you, Pawel Loj for allowing people to use your photo via Creative Commons.]

As a paralegal student and a student member of NALA (National Association of Legal Assistants), this question was a poser for me. I write and edit my own content. I have clients through a shared platform (Upwork) which charges me something like a finders’ fee for clients to see/like my profile. What happens if I run into any of these issues?

  • Someone won’t accept Upwork’s policies (i.e. files legal charge against me);
  • Someone reports me for copyright infringement (the online world is tricky);
  • I find out that I’m not zoned/allowed to have clients visit my home office (to date, this isn’t happening because no one would want to SEE my home office);
  • There’s a ding on my record for unpaid tickets (not yet to my knowledge!)

As a small business owner, I have limited time and resources, and The Law is a many-tentacled beast that likes to swallow people, spit them out, and claim that this process is of some benefit to the confused public.

Partnership Advantage: Get an Expert

I wanted some sort of legal ‘insurance policy’ that would allow me to ask my many questions to someone, or draft a will, or in some way make sure that my business will not hurt my family. For $30 per month, I can pay LegalShield for the services of an entire legal team. This is merely an example of the kind of outsourcing/partnership that will keep me from having to spent time worrying about ‘what ifs’.

Here are some fun LegalShield marketing videos! Imagine a world of affordable legal advice! We are here for you! These make Drafting Wills sound so adventurous.

Advantages:

  • Estate Planning: My husband and I can at least get a will drafted, if not a full trust.
  • Communication: Sometimes, all you need is a letter with an attorney’s letterhead to get a hothead to settle down.
  • Contract Review: Getting a 15-page document reviewed by an attorney can definitely over $300.
  • Consultation: Maybe 30-minute slots are free in the personal injury or medical malpractice world, but most attorneys charge $200 – $350 per hour for consulting their expert advice. I can pick up the phone and get an answer within 8 hours.

Disadvantages:

  • I may not be getting the most expert legal help available (but since I can’t spend the time to find out, this doesn’t yet bother me).
  • I’m paying for a service that I might not use much (like car insurance).
  • I feel badly for the attorneys who are required to follow up multiple times within an 8-hour period (hope they get paid well).

So far, so good. I’ve called twice to get questions answered, and they were. Apparently, I won’t really get a great answer besides ‘it depends’ on issues that don’t touch me personally, i.e. legal trends around the Valley. However, I’m happy to ask my questions of friends or LinkedIn members, and do my own research.

Have you teamed up or outsourced any office work that’s really saved you time or money? Let me know!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s