3 Questions Featured

8:00pm EDT October 26, 2009

Linda A. Klein is the managing shareholder of Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz’s Georgia offices and is a member of the firm’s board of directors. Klein’s practice includes most types of business dispute resolution, including contract law, professional liability and employment law.

Q. How can following legal advice save money for a company?

We all have our own jobs that we do, and the owner of a business is very good at running his or her business, but they may not be lawyers. Just as you would go to a doctor for a checkup, legal advice is much the same way. By going to a lawyer who understands the legal implications of what your business does, you’ll be able to get a legal checkup. Sometimes the lawyer can point out something you could do better, and if you do that, you could avoid a lawsuit or a government investigation.

Q. When should a business seek legal counsel?

When you are going to begin a business is an excellent time. If two people have an idea and decide to start a business together, there needs to be a plan for when they are not happy and are not working well together. Because when things are going well, you don’t see what the potential problems are. When you plan for the worst, you have a map for resolution of a possible dispute that was set way in advance, and perhaps, there will be no litigation or a very low-cost resolution.

Q. Can a company negotiate a flat fee for some services?

Law firms are always open to working with clients to find the best method of paying for their services that works for both the client and the law firm. It was large businesses that got law firms more used to doing billable hours, because there was a perception that clients would get a better value from hourly billing. As business has changed, business owners want to know what something is going to cost.