Mark Morley is a senior partner with Secrest Wardle and is the co-chairman of the firm’s executive committee. Morley has been practicing law since 1972. His practice focuses on litigation in the areas of professional liability, employment and insurance law.
Q. How can following legal advice save money for a company?
A popular commercial used to encourage viewers to take preventive action sooner rather than later because failing to do so could result in unnecessary and costly expenses later on. In short, ‘Pay me now or pay me later.’ Good legal advice is like good preventive medicine. If you are proactive and consult with your lawyer at the outset of a transaction, you can avoid unnecessary costs or litigation down the road.
Q. Can a company negotiate a flat rate for services?
Lawyers are businesspeople, too. Certain types of legal services may lend themselves to a flat-rate type of arrangement. You can explore with your lawyer which type of routine services might benefit from such an approach. Litigation and other types of complex legal work are more difficult to predict, but that does not mean a loss of control over what services the lawyer is to provide on an hourly basis. We routinely provide our clients both a litigation plan and a budget to forecast what is to be accomplished during a time frame and what it will cost. By periodically reviewing and updating the plan and budget with our clients, we work to achieve the desired result at a satisfactory cost.
Q. When should a business seek legal counsel?
Your attorney, whether they are in-house or from an outside firm, can serve you best when you allow them to partner with you in your business. Quite simply, that means bringing them into the decision-making process early and often. A lawyer can be a valuable resource and should not be left untapped until after the deal is done.