Steven C. Karzmer is a partner with Calfee, Halter & Griswold LLP in the firm’s Columbus office. Karzmer provides business and transactional counsel to public and privately held clients. His areas of expertise include mergers, equity financing and employment issues. Karzmer has also counseled clients on matters of intellectual property.
Q. How can seeking legal advice save money for a company?
In order to have the best utilization of your lawyer, it’s very important that your lawyer really understands your business and how you make money, because you are asking them to give you advice on decisions that impact your business. Assuming your lawyer has that background, they can save you money in a preventive way by helping negotiate a potential deal or construct favorable contracts. Also, to get the most bang for your buck, you want the most junior person who can do the job in a excellent manner.
Q. When should a company seek legal counsel?
If a company is about to engage in a significant transaction by which I mean dollars that matter or a long-term commitment that might be difficult to get out of it is worthwhile to take a few minutes to bounce ideas off their attorney. Some areas, such as tax laws, are very technical aspects of the law that are very detailed and code-driven. To ensure you get the value you think you are getting, you should always consult your attorney in those matters.
Q. How should a business go about selecting a lawyer?
Firsthand experience is a very important factor in choosing a lawyer. When I need to pick a service provider, such as accountant or stockbroker, I go to people I know and trust and ask if they have any experience with a provider. You want to make sure you pick the right person and that you’re comfortable with their judgment. Once you get the referrals, it’s a matter of spending time and deciding who best understands you and the business. It’s beneficial to view your lawyer as a long-term relationship.