Whether you are bootstrapping a startup or running a family business, sometimes cash is tight and professionals are expensive. Legal to English is about covering all of the things you need to know you on the issues, so you can make the most appropriate decisions in your business.
When I first started out, I was convinced everyone needed a lawyer (law school takes a little while to wear off). I was convinced that it was my job to be there for every possible business in my community.
Then I realized we live in a DIY economy.
I am a DIYer. You can read about it in my lawyer bio . I enjoy working on my house. As a corporate attorney, I spend so much time in my own head that I enjoy the release of physical labor around the house. I enjoy the challenge. An entire industry has been built around people like me. People who like to do it themselves. As much as I like to do things myself, I am aware that when a project is too big, or messing it up could be detrimental to the well-being of my family or my home, I will call for the help of a professional.
The trick is in knowing what you can handle yourself.
Sometimes the DIY economy is good. People have learned to do so much more with so much less. Part of that is because startups did not have a choice because of the circumstances that led to the startup. Sometimes, it was because you had to focus on one thing to the detriment of another (no matter how much you make there is only so much money). The problem is, people make assumptions when they try to do it themselves. People assume they know more than they do or assume that the information they got from that website was good. Or worse, you assume the off-handed advice you got from a lawyer you met at a cocktail party is good advice.
Legal decisions require a full grasp of the facts.
Lawyers ask a lot of questions to get to the heart of the problem. It is because there are so many nuances in any given legal issue, that you need all of the facts. You can do that to. You can ask questions. You can learn more about the legal issues you need to know about. You can research and study.
Don’t take things at face value, understand the information you get.
You can find a good template contract from a reputable source, but if you don’t know how to use it, it will do you no good. Using the wrong template in a given situation is like using a hammer to put a screw in the wall. You might get it done, but you will make a mess of your project. Also, if you do not understand all of your template contract, you may have too much going on. It would be like using a power drill to tighten a screw on a child’s toy.
Just like home DIYers need to learn about the projects they are working on, you need to understand the legal you deal with every day.
That’s what we are doing here.
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