What’s on the agenda for 2020? Perhaps you’re planning to grow your business; maybe you’re looking to expand overseas or you’re launching a new product or service. Whatever your goals, making sure your business is compliant with regulations, your contracts are watertight, and you aren’t exposing yourself to risk is paramount to ensuring a prosperous year. Easier said than done, perhaps, if you don’t have the right legal support.
With the new year and a new decade upon us, there’s no better time to review your legal requirements and seek out the right provider to help achieve your commercial objectives. If you’ve been putting off reviewing your current provider, here are some key signs it’s time to make a change:
1. You’re paying too much and not getting value in return
Unfortunately, too many organisations make the mistake of settling for law firms who charge a high price but deliver little value in return. It’s understandable, of course, since a swathe of law firms continue to mystify the practice of law and the tasks involved when engaging with clients.
If you or your colleagues are dodging asking your legal partner for help on a particular issue for fear of the costs a quick call will create, it’s a red flag that it’s time to get a new provider. Perhaps the real reason your provider is charging so much is to cover their unnecessary overheads – their fancy offices and dozens of support staff – not that they would admit to that, of course.
2. You have to use different law firms depending on the service required
Your initial intention was to hire a specialist to guide you through a particular project. However, as your business has evolved and your needs have changed, the expertise of your lawyer is beginning to prove insufficient to cover all grounds. In turn, your business has been forced to instruct different lawyers from different firms depending on the nature of the work – be it corporate matter, a commercial issue or an employment case.
Predictably, the costs have started to mount, and your time has become ever-more consumed by communication between each firm. If this headache sounds familiar, it’s time you opted for a firm with the expertise available to assist you across all areas of business law.
3. You trade or are expanding overseas
Whether you currently trade overseas or are looking to expand operations abroad in the coming year, doing business in foreign markets requires an understanding of the legal landscape of the particular region you’re working in. Not only will there be cultural barriers to overcome, but consumer laws and employment regulations make for a minefield for those relying on domestic lawyers for overseas matters.
With a single point of access to a global team of specialist legal consultants, our clients are able to launch in new territories confidently on the same fixed hourly rate. If the geographic limitations of current legal provider is causing friction or holding you back from expansion, it’s a good idea to start looking for a new firm.
4. You have limited visibility on progress of matters
Are you constantly chasing your lawyer for updates on a case? Do you feel out of the loop with what’s happening with regard to legal issues regarding your business? When you’re paying a considerable amount for a legal service, being kept in the dark on the progress of the work feels counterproductive.
Grappling with an already busy schedule, your time shouldn’t be spent hounding your lawyer – rather, you should be able to view in real-time what work has been carried out, the work that is still left to undertake and whether anything is required from you. If you’re chasing legal secretaries for a straight answer, it’s time to take stock and look for a new provider.
5. Your current provider isn’t responsive to time sensitive issues
Whether you’re capitalising on an opportunity or reacting to an internal crisis, time-sensitive matters require a legal services provider who will respond quickly, guiding you towards the best course of action before it’s too late.
An exceptional legal practice should be able to assess the extent of the challenge faced, advise on legal ramifications and deliver appropriate guidance; they should enable you to strike when the iron is hot just as they should help you to mitigate the damage in a dispute. If critical decisions are not being made quickly enough and with confidence due to an unresponsive law firm, there’s no two ways about it: you need a better legal services provider, and fast.
6. You can’t accurately budget for legal costs
When it comes to forecasting legal spend, it seems certainty is a commodity that is hard to come by. Issues arise unexpectedly and needs change, leaving a giant question mark in the place of an estimation for annual legal costs. When speaking with our consultant lawyers on the common challenges, CFOs from a diverse range of organisations regularly cite this lack of foresight into legal spend as an issue that plagues their ability to plan ahead.
Yet, uncertainty isn’t something that CFOs should simply have to expect. At 360 Law Group, we offer a simple subscription service to allow businesses to budget for legal costs. By agreeing to a bespoke package of services – usually commercial contracts and employment law – our clients can receive high quality advice from our legal consultants for a set monthly fee that does not increase, irrespective of volumes of work.
This year don’t settle for a legal services provider who doesn’t put your needs at the heart of their service. Whether you’re paying too much and getting little back, are communicating with several firms to handle different matters or are unable to predict the figure on your legal bill, now is the perfect time to reassess your requirements and find the right legal services provider to meet them.