3 Questions Featured

8:00pm EDT October 26, 2009

Scott Alderton is a founder and partner at Stubbs Alderton & Markiles LLP. Alderton is also the co-chairman of the firm’s Venture Capital and Emerging Growth Practice Group. A corporate and technology lawyer, Alderton focuses on advising middle-market, technology, emerging growth and development stage companies.

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

The principle way that it saves money is that it is much easier to avoid a problem than it is to solve a problem. To have proactive advice from a lawyer who is anticipating issues and questions you may have in the context of a business transaction goes a long way to saving money. Being proactive and trying to properly structure around a transaction is much easier than having a problem and trying to fix it later.

Q. How can a business get the most out of a billable hour?

In any transaction, a client is very well served to have an extensive discussion with the lawyer upfront to get the expectation or a detailed cost estimate. Absent of any significant change, they’ll have a good idea of how many hours will be involved and what the project will cost. That also causes the lawyer to be more concerned about the amount of time they’re billing.

Q. What steps should a company take to find the right lawyer?

The most important thing is to make sure that they find a lawyer that has extensive domain experience in the area that they’re seeking representation. A lot of times, the businessperson is concerned over competitive aspects or the sharing of confidential information and will not want to hire a lawyer who represents a competitor of the company. Lawyers are bound by law through the attorney-client relationship, and it’s the most protective relationship that a client can have in terms of protecting information. Finding someone that may represent their competitors may be the best thing, because they get a knowledgeable lawyer who not only handles the simple aspects of the legal transaction but can also give sound business advice and market information.