LEGAL ADVICE AS AN INSTANT REMEDY?
Have you ever heard a story of air balloon journey cross France?
What legal advice has in common with this? Check.
George and Lenny decide to cross France in a hot air balloon. However, neither were particularly experienced balloonists, and Lenny’s mind quickly drifted from navigation to thoughts of how clouds look like cuddly little bunny rabbits. Upon realizing that they were lost, George declared:
-„Lenny – we are going to have to lose some altitude so we can figure out where we are.”
George lets some hot air out of the balloon, which slowly descended below the clouds, but he still couldn’t tell where they were. Far below, they could see a man on the ground. George lowered the balloon, to ask the man their location. When they were low enough, George called down to the man:
-„Hey, can you tell us where we are?”
The man on the ground yelled back
– „You’re in a balloon, about 100 feet up in the air.”
George Called down to the man – „You must be a lawyer.”
„Gee, George,” Lenny replied.
„How can you tell?” – George answered
– „Because the advice he gave us is 100% accurate, and is completely useless”.
The man called back up to the balloon
– „You must be a client.” George yelled back
– „Why do you say that?”
-„Well” – the man replied- you don’t know where you are, or where you are going. You got into your predicament through a lack of planning, and could have avoided it by asking for help before you acted. You expect me to provide an instant remedy. The fact is you are in the exact same position you were in before we met, but now it is somehow my fault.”
HOW MANY TIMES HAVE YOU FACED SUCH A FEELING, BEING INCLUDED IN A PROCESS AT A LATER STAGE?
HOW MANY TIMES HAVE YOU GIVEN LEGAL ADVICE WHEN EVERYTHING AROUND WAS BURNNING?
As a contract and commercial lawyer, I observe this tendency every day. Many times have faced the fact that lawyer is often involved too late. After key commercial aspects of the deal have already been not only commited, but even further, already implemented.
In such a case our ability to bring value is undermined by the fact they have been not consulted before.
While we are right to make a complaint, value was lost and deals did suffer.
On the other hand I understand reality.
Time is money. Society is becoming increasingly impatient. We expect things to be available on demand, easy to access and understand.
Same tendency we observe in professional services.
Fine, as lawyers we can follow this expectations easily but let’s put people before process and let us design the legal reality instead of renovating it then. It is easier to play with good cards.
A GOOD IDEA COULD BE ASKING FOR THE LEGAL ADVICE BEFORE YOU:
Put an offer on the table instead of trying to convince the other party you meant something completely different from what was written there then?
Accept the terms and condition (including budget) instead of trying to convince yourself this is still good deal under those conditions then?
Provide third party access to confident information instead of trying to defend your good name then?
Accept contract template instead of trying to survive with agreed budget and timing?
Implement in your organization regulation in accordance with GDPR instead of defending huge fine then?
Plan your succession after death instead of spend your dreams with your partners, co-workers or inheritors then?
Terminate an employment agreement instead of losing the case in first instance?
IT CAN SAFE YOU TIME AND COST, FURTHER FOR SURE WILL BE LESS STRESSFUL.