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_Protecting Your Company’s Legal Health

Introduction Avoid Problems with Preventive Law

Smart business owners and managers reduce costs and avoid legal problems with preventive law practices. With the help of their lawyers, businesses can avoid disputes, injuries, and damage claims and can help strengthen their defenses when lawsuits are unavoidable.This pamphlet will introduce you to the value of legal checkups, legal handbooks, contract strategies and litigation strategies. Your lawyer will help you to adopt the strategies that apply to your business. Preventive practices should be much less expensive than legal problems down the road.

Legal Checkups Detect Problems

Legal checkups-or legal audits-are something like an accountant’s financial audit or medical examinations given by a physician.

During a legal checkup, your lawyer examines business records and practices and recommends steps that you can take to protect the legal health of your business. In a typical legal checkup, your lawyer will review documents such as your corporate charter, corporate minute book, purchase order forms, sales contracts, employment agreements, and loan agreements. Afterward you may get a written report summarizing findings and recommendations. An audit may uncover legal problems that should be corrected. For example, it may reveal that the company should revise sales contracts to limit warranties and liabilities or revise its employment applications to preserve the right to fire unsatisfactory employees.

Besides a written report, your lawyer can meet with you to explain the audit findings and recommendations and tell you how to avoid potential legal problems. At the meeting you can also learn which problems need immediate attention and which ones are less serious. Legal Handbooks Ensure Compliance

Legal handbooks inform business owners and managers about the laws governing their day-to-day activities and help companies comply with state and federal regulations. They usually summarize the law and contain compliance checklists. Compliance failures can result in bad publicity, distracting lawsuits, and costly fines. Your lawyer can recommend inexpensive legal handbooks that are available from local bookstores.

A typical handbook is about 100 pages long and provides practical guidance on how to comply with the law. Some handbooks concentrate on one legal subject-such as legal restrictions on product pricing-while others cover several subjects. The most popular legal handbooks cover areas that can be hazardous to a company’s legal health-compliance with antitrust, consumer protection, labor, and product liability law.

The handbooks are intended as reference guides to be kept handy on desktops and credenzas. Some companies distribute legal handbooks to all employees while other companies limit distribution.

Preventive legal practices pay for themselves by helping you to avoid legal problems, reduce legal risks, and recognize strategic legal advantages.

Your lawyer can help keep you out of court and defend you against unavoidable lawsuits. To protect your legal health, remember to consult your lawyer when contemplating business ventures, entering into agreements with suppliers and customers, and when developing policies for personnel, sales and purchasing matters. Preventive Law Checklist

Benefits of preventive practices
A. Avoid violating laws
B. Benefit from legal trends
C. Improve public relations and reputation
D. Protect officers, directors and managers from liability

Legal checkups
A. Frequency-at least annually
B. Topics
1. Antitrust compliance
2. Compliance with consumer protection laws
3. Compliance with labor laws
4. Avoidance of product liability

C. Checklists
D. Questionnaires
E. Interviews
F. Inspections
G. Examination of files
H. Monitoring of compliance and programs
Use of printed forms
A. Sales agreements
B. Purchase orders
C. Office, shop and warehouse leases
D. Equipment leases
E. Credit applications
E Warehouse receipts
G. Employment contracts
H. Distributorship agreements

A. Written guides to policies and procedures
B. Compliance calendars
C. Monitoring legislative and judicial developments

Training and Education

A. Legal handbooks for managers and supervisors
B. Legal newsletters
C. In-house workshops
D. Seminars and videos


This pamphlet provides general information. Laws develop over time and differ from state to state. This pamphlet does not provide legal advice about specific legal problems. Let us advise you about your particular situation.

® 2006 by BlumbergExcelsior, Inc