Lawyers are risk-averse. Many of us went to law school to get a stable well-paying job. The practice of law itself is all about reducing or allocating risk. Most lawyers who practice have never started their practice or started their own business, and they have no idea what the typical business person goes through on any given day just to keep the doors open. In fact, most lawyers are confronted with the cases that result from failed deals which only exacerbates the lawyers’ fear of what can happen when the proper legal precautions are not taken.
Therefore, while lawyers are focusing on every potential situation that could hypothetically result in adverse consequences to the entrepreneur; the entrepreneur is busy trying to launch a business to pay the bills.
The 21st century lawyer is the new "consultant"
This is why it is critical to find a business lawyer whom they can trust. Let’s face it, lawyers do provide an invaluable service, but it doesn’t feel right to be charged per email. If they want to succeed as an entrepreneur, they have to have a company that passes the sniff test: they have to comply with corporate laws, pay taxes, manage payroll, and take steps appropriate to protect the business that they are building. For example, assuming the proper steps to make sure the name on which they are building their brand is not in violation of someone else’s trademark. This could have been avoided by retaining a business lawyer for a little over a thousand dollars to do a thorough search for them, and that thousand would have saved them hundreds of thousands down the road. Same is true for any stock issuances they may want to do. There are complex state and federal securities laws that need to be evaluated for each stock issuance. Failure to follow these rules could handicap their business down the road, especially when they want to raise money from sophisticated investors.
Therefore there is a huge need for change and disruption in legal and this is showcased in the complicated relationship between lawyers and entrepreneurs in different ecosystems. What is indeed required is a new way of approaching legal services, a new way of understanding work and tasks. Lawyers should be initiated to the ins and outs of the knowledge economy, and there should be aware of where we are going as a global society and as a species overall.
Consequently, we lawyers should understand what entrepreneurs are doing and follow their path. Lawyers should offer decentralized legal services tailored to each one’s need. Lawyers should also realize that startups are investments and they should bet and join the startup they believe in and this is where the entrepreneur should convince the best lawyer to join them if this entrepreneur has well worked his concept and correctly started executing it.
Us lawyers should understand that we are living in new times and we need to adapt by offering a different decentralized type of service. Going back to a lawyer's roots, he/she develops a specific way of thinking combined with a cultural and multi-disciplinary background. The natural upbringing of a lawyer gives him hands-on experience in consulting and providing answers putting him at the forefront of society and making his role crucial in the development of the human kind.
" See the wave coming and ride it.. "
As societies evolve, I believe that the role of lawyers should be altered and lawyers should be handling three significant tasks in future social structures:
Legislators and creators: Parliaments should comprise of individuals who have studied law as a base and have specialized in a particular field whether medicine, engineering, business, urbanism or else. Legal professionals should take a more prominent and proactive role in shaping our tomorrows.
Consultants and advisors: Lawyers should take a more critical role in consulting people, whether in business or family or even in other aspects of life, lawyers should be able to give the right advice and solve problems for individuals and groups based on a logical pattern of analysis.
Litigators: Lawyers should also embrace their role as litigators and be more inclined to argument and defend in front of arbitrators, and judges as we move towards a new era in conflict resolution.
The world is changing, and the legal industry has no other path than to follow. Lawyers should start adapting to the new era and transforming their working habits through small things that inspire flexibility. Let us start by being less fond of suits and more fund of played down attitudes as the world is moving more into knowledge-based criteria than form-based ones.
Written by: Rami Alamé