Preventive Lawyering

When things go wrong and uncontrolled, it is a bit late for clients to come to see lawyers. Having a lawyer involved help live a peace of mind and keep things under control. In contrast, lawyers should be more constructive and creative about how to serve clients’ best interest when they are called on.

Preventive Lawyering

Some says that a lawyer is like a doctor who help clients cure their illness. Doctors are essentially paid on the same basis that lawyers are paid to deal with the “disease” once something has gone wrong. More importantly, doctors are also paid not for curing someone when he’s sick, but for keeping him healthy in the first place. Preventing the illness from happening is even more important than curing it later on.

Companies and individuals (clients) are finding that legal help can be a worthwhile investment before something goes wrong.

• Corporations are looking to lawyers to avoid or clear up things like environmental violations or product-liability suits, rather than to defend them afterward.

• Small businessmen are becoming prudent in using lawyers early to avoid later problems with taxes or partnership that go sour.

• Increasing numbers of couples are hiring lawyers to write prenuptial agreements to avoid ugly and expensive battles in case of divorce.

As soon as clients are aware of lower costs of retaining lawyers at the first place than later, clients’ interests are well-protected and enjoy a peace of mind.

Beyond preventive lawyering

The practice of law is not a business of running legal dispensary or pharmacy anymore (Adam Newhouse in E-lawyer). Clients can understand what the law is as they can easily google regulations and laws themselves, and turn to Wikipedia. Instead, it is the lawyers’ business to give clients peace of mind as business insurance by giving reasons behind what the black-letter law is and how it affects clients’ management goals and their internal organizational structure. In addition, effective lawyers are able to offer clients reasons behind legal conclusions, thus then empowering them to confidently execute their strategies.

Beyond effective lawyers – constructive and creative lawyers

Let Adam Newhouse in E-lawyer tell us about what a lawyer look likes in future in the following quotes:

“We love telling businesspeople set on achieving goals regardless of obstacles that they cannot do what they want…. The clash between forward-looking business culture and unconstructive attitudes of lawyers make a true mutual partnership unlikely.”

“The ability to spot legal danger may have earn us high grades in law school, but displaying such an unconstructive mind-set without suggesting alternative solutions will not earn us high marks from our clients. Businesspeople are not interested in learning why their objectives cannot be accomplished. Yet, typical lawyers seem to excel in proving clients wrong. Whose side are they really on?”

“Constructive lawyering requires a rigorous examination of alternative and often conflicting course of action. More important, it requires plenty of imagination. Without courage or initiative to discuss alternatives or consider counterarguments, however, our chance to add value may be lost”.

“Creative lawyers is a curious lawyers, eager to deepen his or her technical skills as well as to learn what is best for a particular client. Such curiosity will lead to creative client-oriented legal solutions. If we merely educate clients as to why their business strategies will not work – while perhaps averting potential legal disasters – we will rarely earn a reputation as true value enhancers. Clients, prodded by their competitive instincts, want to move forward, legal obstacles or not.”

Bui Tien Long (Rudy)