Watching “The Lego Movie” with my son, I was introduced to a world where “everything was awesome”; people were settled in their routines and were living happy, carefree lives. In reality, however, behind the scenes, there was an evil plot afoot which, if successful, would destroy their entire world forever on “Taco Tuesday.”
Step Outside of Your Comfort Zone
It was only when Emmet, who seems to be an ordinary guy, steps outside of his comfort zone and meets master builder, Wyldstyle, that the evil plot was revealed and thwarted. By stepping outside of his comfort zone and working collaboratively and creatively with the master builders, “ordinary guy” Emmet is able to accomplish extraordinary things and save his awesome world from destruction.
Some businesses are like the fictional Lego Movie world. It seems like everything in awesome: there is a nice profit, the owners and employees are happy, and no one imagines that anything possibly could go wrong. Yet, without good legal infrastructures that include solid formation documents, strong contracts, and protection of intellectual property, those businesses can quickly find they are built on legal quicksand without anyone around to keep them from sinking.
Business Attorneys Help Ordinary Businesses Do Extraordinary Things
Some business owners avoid dealing with attorneys, because they view attorneys as the people who put restrictions on their businesses. I would rather think of myself Wyldstyle, the creative attorney who helps business owners move out of their comfort zone to create a legal framework and infrastructure that frees the business and its owners to do extraordinary things.
A creative and detail-oriented business attorney can help business owners form a legal infrastructure that
-Includes the best business structure (corporation, limited liability company, or partnership) for your business’ current needs, while providing for flexibility as your business grows
-Proactively evaluates the tax consequences of business options and minimizes tax liability for you and your business
-Identifies and assures compliance with laws and regulations specific to your business
-Includes carefully negotiated strong contracts and leases that accomplish your business goals, while protecting your business from the unexpected
-Prevents lawsuits by employees, customers, and vendors and minimizes the damages if your business is sued
-Protects the business’ intellectual property and helps the business comply with intellectual property laws relating to websites, social media, and other business activities
-Plans for the unexpected so that the business can continue to operate in the case of partner disputes, death or disability of the owner, divorce, or simply a changes in the economy or the industry
An Outside General Counsel Has the Business’ and its Owner’s Backs
For nearly a decade, I was in-house general counsel for a national company. A general counsel develops an intimate knowledge of a company – not just of the company’s business but also of the company’s leaders and their personal and business goals, risk tolerance, and the business culture they want to create.
With this specialized knowledge about your particular business, a general counsel can
-Assure that your business is up-to-date on its “routine maintenance,” so that it remains in good standing and in compliance with legal requirements
-Provide highly customized service to your business
-Quickly identify and prevent potential legal problems before they become big legal problems
-Get up to speed much more quickly than an attorney who doesn’t know the company well when legal concerns do arise, saving money and frequently producing a faster and more suitable result for the company
-Although small businesses usually cannot afford a full-time inside general counsel, they can benefit by engaging an experienced outside general counsel who has their back and is there to pull them out of the legal quicksand as the business grows.
An Awesome Business
In “The Lego Movie,” Taco Tuesday did arrive on schedule. However, thanks to the collaborative work of Emmet and Wyldstyle, with the evil plot thwarted, Taco Tuesday was a joyous day of celebration in a world which finally really was awesome.
Every business has a Taco Tuesday in its future. For some businesses, Taco Tuesday will be the day the very existence of their businesses will be jeopardized due to unsecure business foundations. Other businesses, which have built a firm legal infrastructure, are likely to weather the storm of their Taco Tuesdays and will be able to emerge to celebrate their awesomeness and future success.