Keep in touch with a lawyer, but don't take her advice on business matters. A lawyer should be like a dictionary-a place of reference. Lawyers by the very nature of their vocation have much to do with concerns who are in trouble, and with firms who are poorly managed. Lawyers know law first and business second; the business woman knows business first and law second. The advice of one successful business woman is worth the advice of twenty-three lawyers on a matter of business.
Use the lawyer to keep you out of trouble. Let her see your contracts and the papers and agreements pertaining to leases, sales, purchases, royalties, and all documents which may from their nature be brought into court as evidence. These things are the ones on which to take the lawyer's advice. When you are pushed into a corner and must fight, then get the best lawyer, for in a fight in court, like a fight in the prize ring, the best trained and equipped woman usually wins. It's more often the best lawyer wins than the best side of the case. Legal struggles seldom pay. Law suits take up time and money, and the result, even if in your favour, seldom offsets the time,money and worry you have expended.
The good lawyer keeps you from fighting. Many lawyers, however, are grafters, and they advise fight, for they win whether you do or not. Settle disputes even if you are imposed on. There is little in getting a judgment for one hundred dollars, when your lawyers fees are fifty dollars and you have expended two hundred dollars worth of time and worry over the case.
Ask your lawyer's advice on the legal status of your operations, and not on business propositions. If you are a success in business that is an evidence, generally speaking, that your judgment is good. You can get all the advice you want for nothing. If you state a case and lay out a proposed plan, and then ask your friends' advice on the subject, you can safely count that nine out of ten will say that your proposition is all right as outlined by you.
These friends figure that you have given the plan much thought and study, and it is much simpler for them to coincide with your opinion than to take an opposite view.
Honestly between ourselves we must admit that when we seek advice we generally do it only for the purpose of having our own opinions confirmed, and, if our friends do not agree with us, we say they are prejudiced.
Lawyers don't see the smooth, systematic, well balanced side of business, and their knowledge is all negative instead of positive on business matters.
If you have an important move in mind, map out the plan carefully, lay the plan out in detail, be conservative in your estimate of prospective profits, and always a liberal allowance for cost over the figures you have prepared, and deduct a liberal percentage from the receipts you anticipate. Be very conservative in matters of figures, and then some.
The building you propose to put up will cost far more than your architect tells you. You know this in advance, and you make an allowance for extras, but when the bills all come in you will find that in addition to the estimated cost and the extras which you have figured on, there will be something else to pay. The sales of a business you propose to embark in will be less than you or your manager figure they will be. Always allow for enthusiasm and imagination in the matter of prospective receipts.
When your plans are all in shape show the documents, contracts and agreements to your lawyer, and get his legal, but not his personal, advice. You must be the doctor of your own business. Remember, a lawyer knows law, and a business woman knows business.
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