Why it Pays for Small Business to Use a Small Law Firm

small business lawyerIf you run a small business, you have no doubt heard the usual reasons why you should consider taking your legal problems to a small law firm instead of a mega-firm:

  • Lower hourly rates (no subsidization of fancy offices, boxes at FedEx Forum, flashy overhead, etc.)
  • Better responsiveness (no “big shot” partner egos to deal with)
  • More attention (smaller pond = bigger fish)

All of which is true.  But how about this one:  BETTER SOLUTIONS!  We are a small law firm for small business.

Small Business + Small Law Firm = SUCCESS

Here is a real-life example of how a small law firm ended up being a better fit for the needs of small business.

A construction contractor client came to our firm with a problem.  Business had gotten slow, and the business decided to terminate a few employees, including one of its carpenters.  The client allowed the employee to finish out the workweek and went ahead and cut his final paycheck through the end of that week.  Unfortunately, the employee injured himself on the job just a few days later (his second-to-last day at work).  He understandably filed a workers compensation claim for his injury, to which the client had no objection.

However, the employee later went on to file a federal lawsuit alleging that he had actually been fired in retaliation for filing a workers comp claim – a claim which was patently untrue.  After all, the decision to terminate the employee was made before he had ever even injured himself.

The key piece of evidence ended up being the final paycheck which was dated prior to the date of the injury.  The employee claimed, however, that the check had been forged and backdated.  This allegation was potentially troublesome because it basically boiled down to a “he said, she said” dispute that would normally be a classic question of fact for a jury.  This meant the client was potentially staring down the barrel of a long, drawn out lawsuit ending with a trial.

Which is where the benefit of having a small law firm kicked in.

Small law firms think like small businesses because we ARE small businesses.  And so we know a thing or two about the practical, hands-on side of payroll and accounting software.  We use it ourselves every day.  And so we knew, for example, that most small business software packages contain built-in, anti-fraud features including a hidden, tamper-proof transaction log.  And while the actual purpose of having a tamper-proof transaction log is to protect the small business itself (by preventing bookkeeping employees from having the ability to manipulate financial records in order to hide embezzlement), the information proved invaluable for our client in this particular situation.  Indeed, we knew the client could access the transaction log which ultimately proved with a precise date/time stamp that the employee’s final paycheck had indeed been cut before he was  injured.

This single piece of information was ultimately sufficient to convince the employee’s attorney that the case had no merit, and so the lawsuit was literally resolved within mere days.  Which was all the more important because the client’s annual audit was only weeks away, and it desperately wanted to avoid having to disclose a pending lawsuit.

WE ARE SMALL BUSINESS.

Small law firms have a different, and arguably more relevant, knowledge base and experience than mega-firms.  We better understand the needs and perspective of small business, because we ARE small business. If you are a small business, let our small business help you. Call us today at 901-372-5003 or email us here.   Or visit the Business & Commercial Litigation page on our website to learn more.

We’re conveniently located near the intersection of Walnut Grove and Germantown Parkway in Memphis. Easy access to our office means you are in and out when you need to visit us, so you can get on with running your business.  Oh, and there’s free and plentiful parking here. No parking garages necessary!

Legal Problem Solving: Does Your Lawyer Merely Work the Problem? Or Solve the Problem?

legal problem solvingLet’s discuss legal problem solving. Does your lawyer merely work the problem, or solve the problem? There’s a difference, you know.

  • A cookie-cutter response vs. a creative solution
  • Reaction vs. a plan of action
  • “Winning” the lawsuit vs. avoiding the lawsuit
  • Churning legal fees vs. finding a cost-effective solution up front

I saw a blog post once detailing a masterful stroke of legal genius by the lawyers for Jack Daniels, and wanted to share it. It’s a prime example of the type of culture and approach we cultivate at Wiseman Bray PLLC– solving the problem vs. merely working the problem.

Legal Problem Solving at Wiseman Bray PLLC

Our clients don’t just want legal answers.  They want solutions.  So at every stage our goal is to focus on the following question to the client:

“What do you ultimately want to accomplish?”

Sometimes that means we have to act not just as legal advisors, but also legal counselors – asking questions, raising issues the client may not have considered, and then sometimes even gently prodding and steering clients to think beyond their immediate short-term emotions and goals.

In virtually every case, our clients appreciate our focus on long-term solutions.  That might mean, for example, our client accepting a short-term loss in exchange for saving a relationship with a customer and securing new business, renegotiating as opposed to litigating a contract, and realizing that the cost of vindication might sometimes outweigh the perceived benefits. Many clients have even remarked how unusual it is that a lawyer would suggest an option that they weren’t even aware of, and that would generate less in billed fees for the lawyer.

But, then again, that’s how we internally answer the very same question we put to our clients:

“What do WE ultimately want to accomplish?”

We want to uniquely serve the best interests of our clients so that they ultimately come back.  And refer their peers, colleagues, friends, and family.

And they do.  And we’re confident you will, too.

 

WISEMAN BRAY PLLC

8001 Centerview Parkway, Suite 103

Memphis, Tennessee 38018

(901) 372-5003 Office

(901) 383-6599 Fax

www.WisemanBray.com