Chris Moander of the Wisconsin Business Law and Litigation Blog shares his take on the timeless advice that business people can pay for it now . . . or pay for it later.  Chris points out that many business people sadly lump legal services into the "too costly" or "unnecessary" categories when it comes to starting or running a business.  And while good legal services are not cheap it may actually save you in the long run.  Here are some of the downsides for not seeking professional advice as described by Chris:

  • Purchased form documents create a false sense of security as “boilerplate” terms are assumed by the entrepreneurs to be “safe,” which is hardly the case. Owners who are not getting along and decide to split may find themselves mired in extremely expensive litigation over a long period of time, all of which could have been avoided by spending a fraction of the litigation costs on quality document drafting by an attorney.
  • Technical faults in any number of license or regulatory filings go unnoticed until the company is audited, a criminal investigation occurs, or some other form of litigation begins. The litigation costs dwarf up-front legal costs due to the belief that preventative legal advice was not necessary or worthwhile.
  • Buyers and sellers throw together an amalgam of words, believing that the resulting document reflects a mutual understanding. Eventually, one party feels aggrieved and suddenly the so-called contract is revealed as imprecise and nebulous…and so costly litigation commences.

My favorite blogging CPA, Joe Kristan, also shares similar advice over on  Joe’s moral?

When you mess with the ownership of your business, it’s a lot cheaper to call a business lawyer and a tax guy before you do the deal; it costs a lot more to repair a deal than to do it right in the first place. 

Focus on doing it right the first time.  You will never regret it.