by Tom Makeig, a lawyer who serves entrepreneurs

About this blog

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Thomas H. Makeig, with offices in Fairfield, Iowa, is a 1981 alumnus of New York University School of Law and is admitted to the practice of law in Iowa and New York. This blog does not offer legal advice, which requires confidential personal communication with a lawyer. NOTICE TO THE PUBLIC: The determination of the need for legal services and the choice of a lawyer are extremely important decisions and should not be based solely upon advertisements or self-proclaimed expertise. This disclosure is required by rule of the Supreme Court of Iowa.

Monday, August 10, 2009

The sales prevention team

Entrepreneurs love to hate lawyers. Their own lawyers are the "sales prevention team." Their adversary's lawyers are parasites ginning up claims on behalf of their falsely agrieved competitor, customer or vendor. Government lawyers embody all that bureacracy has to offer by way of obstacles to business success.

These views are widely held and provide a useful corrective to any lawyer who presumes to advise a businessperson. The lawyer serves his or her client best when the lawyer understands the client's business, appreciates the client's frustrations with legal processes, works proactively to help the client assume control of his or her own legal destiny, and works at minimizing fees and expenses.

Also, good clients make good lawyers. Good clients educate themselves (through discussion with the lawyer and through independent reading) about what is and is not possible in light of legal requirements. Clients serve themselves well by communicating diligently with their lawyer and involving the lawyer not only when execution is required, but when plans are being laid and strategy is being developed. Clients serve themselves best by making their expectations clear regarding both fees and anticipated results.

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