The last thing a business owner considers when looking for a lawyer to help them is, “What is their philosophy of the practice of law?” Sounds a little crazy, doesn’t it? Usually, a business owner is scrambling to find a lawyer because of some crisis that popped up and they just go with someone a friend recommended. That usually works out well enough since most business lawyers are competent to get the task completed. But, is their overall approach going to hold your business back from growing?
Here’s where I am coming from: one’s philosophy (set of operational beliefs) in any given area of life tends to drive decisions and actions. In the practice of law, there are a wide array of operational beliefs at play in any given interaction. For example, what does your lawyer believe their role is? Some believe they need to grab the reigns in a crisis and steer you out of it while others might believe they just await marching orders from you. And, there is a mix in the middle as well.
A key operational belief topic is around risk. What is your lawyer’s philosophy of taking risks? Since you are a business owner, there is an entrepreneurial streak that runs through you. And, an entrepreneur is more risk prone than the average person. Meaning, someone who starts up or owns a small business is more likely to take risks than most other people. Some of the most successful business persons are highly risk prone in that they took several chances along the way. Many of those gambles failed, but they took enough of them that some paid off really well.
Contrast that to the typical lawyer. People who gravitate to law school tend to lean more towards the risk averse side of things. Being a lawyer is a pretty safe profession in many respects because the degree opens doors to a wide range of jobs. And, the training itself focuses primarily on being able to spot what went wrong in any given situation and how to avoid it. After all, most of law school is reading case law and every case was an example of things gone wrong. Being risk averse is built into the profession.
As you can see, a highly risk averse lawyer will focus their energy on telling you what not to do in order to avoid mistakes; avoid liability. And, if they tend to also think their role is to “take the reigns” in a crisis, well then, most of what you will hear as their client is “…no…can’t….don’t…never….”.
Our philosophy at Troutman & Napier is one of encouraging wise risk. How we do that is we give you our best knowledge and experience-based assessment of any given venture or in-house employee matter and lay it out for you. We take the situation and your options and play them forward so that you can be informed on unlikely, possible, and likely outcomes. Once you decide what direction and what risk you want to take, we help you navigate the course you set as successfully as possible.
You want a lawyer that will help your business grow. That means you need a lawyer that believes that wise risk taking is the only path to success. You will find that lawyer at Troutman & Napier.