Everyone has seen the Godfather at least a few times. If you haven’t, it’s definitely a great movie. You see, the real strength of the Godfather didn’t always come from the armed muscle on the streets, or even the politicians and policemen that the Don held in his back pocket. The real strength, if you will, came from the man that always seemed to be able to stay in the room when everyone else had to leave.
That man was Tom Hagen, the lawyer for the Corleone family. When something legal needed to be taken care of, Tom took care of it. Even though he was in a position that technically should have been held by an Italian (according to the Mafia rules), the German-Irish lawyer still held his position and controlled a great deal of power in his own right.
Now, you might not be running your business Mafia style, but the truth is that there are some subtle benefits to hiring a lawyer to handle some of your business affairs. In the Godfather movies, Hagen was definitely an asset to the Don because he could advise the Don on issues that hadn’t even become issues yet. Your lawyer can do the same thing for your business, from looking at business contracts to even helping you start a new business the right way from the ground up — from incorporation to mergers and acquisitions. Every large corporation would be helpless without its legal team in place. Now, when you’re starting out you don’t need an army of lawyers. You just need one lawyer and you need to make sure that you get a few things out of the way.
If you have a business plan already, then it’s a good idea to let the lawyer in on what’s going on. You don’t have to always jump into the specifics, but giving the lawyer a clear head’s up on what’s going on can help them plan with you.
How do you find a rockstar lawyer? Well, you will want to go online. In the past, it was the phonebook that led you to the best lawyer in town. Nowadays it’s all about going online and seeing who’s in your area, and who’s been there the longest. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with going with the lawyer that just set up shop, but you will need to make certain concessions. First, you might not get the experience that you’re used to. If that’s a problem, you’re going to want to make sure that you really dig into the guts of the lawyer’s resume. You need to make sure that you can turn your business’s delicate legal issues over to this lawyer and trust that you’re going to get a great performance over time.
It’s important to keep in mind that you don’t want to just have a lawyer for the beginning of your business, though that’s a great item to get a lawyer. You want to make sure that you have a legal expert that you can turn to here and there. You don’t have to make them an employee, you just need to make sure that you push forward and get the help when you need the help. Sometimes it can be helpful to get a lawyer and sit down for a consultation every quarter. Some businesses only need an annual review. It just depends on what type of show you’re actually trying to run.
Overall, hiring a lawyer for your day to day business operations is definitely a good idea. If the Don wouldn’t be caught without a lawyer, then you should at least consider having one in your circle of expertise to contact when you need them most.