Working Effectively with Your Lawyer: Don't "Outsource" the Details of Your Deal

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Having an effective relationship with your lawyer involves more than just hiring an attorney who is knowledgable and competent. You must also be able to work with your lawyer in a way that gets a deal done while protecting your interests. This is an interactive process that involves the active participation of both parties. All too often, I see clients ignore the details of their deals, often under the logic of "I pay him to handle all the details." This is a perfectly understandable reaction. First, most entrepreneurs are "big idea" people, and are not detail oriented, so pouring through the 10 page representations and warranties section of a stock purchase agreement doesn't exactly sound like a good time. Second, lawyers are expensive (many would say overpriced) and so clients want to see some tangible benefit to having hired them. Mitigation of risk arising from a deal is rarely tangible, but the luxury of not having to deal with the hassle or reading a dense 80 page agreement does seem like a tangible and tempting benefit. The problem is, this approach of "outsourcing" the details of your deal isn't always in your best interest. Here are some reasons why: (1) In the end only you know your own preferences and concerns. (2) You lose the opportunity to learn about new aspects of business deals. (3) Often, the more sets of eyes looking at the problem, the better the solution that will be found. (4) The more sets of eyes looking at an agreement, the less likely there will be mistakes and oversights. (5) Your lawyer will be at his or her best when you are fully engaged with the process.

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