Lynn C. Outwater is a regional managing partner of Jackson Lewis LLP and oversees operations of the firm’s Pittsburgh and Cleveland offices. Outwater specializes in labor law and was designated as a “Super Lawyer” in the labor and employment practice area in 2004, 2005 and 2006 editions of “Pennsylvania Super Lawyers.”
Q. How can following legal advice save money for an average company?
Preventive legal action can literally save thousands, even millions, of dollars for a company. A simple employee handbook, thoroughly vetted by counsel, can help a company avoid employment charges, lawsuits and even class action. Legal training is something that regularly safeguards companies from people engaging in inappropriate behaviors, etc., that often results in significant damages. Those are two examples of untold amounts of money that companies have saved.
Q. When should a business seek legal counsel?
It’s never too soon. Unfortunately, too many companies wait until they have a lawsuit. In workplace law, if you call your attorney while you’re thinking about terminating or if you call while you’re thinking about creating new policies or practices, this is when you can get the most cost-effective legal advice and you end up spending $1,000 versus $100,000. Do it right the first time. Working with people that know how to engage in the best practices when it comes to managing your most important resources always positively impacts the company’s bottom line.
Q. What should a company look for in a lawyer?
It is imperative to hire counsel that knows the legal issues and the business interests of the client. The client must be assured that they have a counsel that understands their business, that appreciates the goals they have as a business and provides consistent legal advice based on those goals. You want an outside counsel that is going to invest in the relationship and who is going to spend the time knowing about the business before giving legal advice.