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ECT News Community   »   E-Commerce Times Talkback   »   Re: To Boost a Small E-Business, Out-Lawyer the Lawyers

Re: To Boost a Small E-Business, Out-Lawyer the Lawyers
Posted by: Elizabeth Blakey 2001-11-13 14:23:43
See Full Story

From corporate formation to business licensing to taxation, lawyers have a hand in
nearly every aspect of a fledging e-commerce business. For many online entrepreneurs,
working with attorneys is an enormous stumbling block. However, the more you learn to
think and operate like a lawyer, the better you will fare in your dealings with them --
from understanding their advice to deciphering their invoices.

Re: To Boost a Small E-Business, Out-Lawyer the Lawyers
Posted by: Billy Preston 2001-11-14 16:12:54 In reply to: Elizabeth Blakey
Think like a lawyer, hmmm...Ok, let's see who can I bill for the time I took to read this story.

It took 5 minutes for my computer to boot up. Another 5 minutes for my internet connection to the site. Then another 5 minutes to read the story the first time. Followed by 5 minutes of useless notetaking. This was followed by yet another 5 minutes of review of the story, plus ten minutes of staring out the window while I considered the many questions this story raised.

Then when my computer crashed I had to wait 10 minutes to get it rebooted and back online. Plus you have to include 15 minutes of miscellaneous time. Finally there is a 1 hour minimum for billing.

All told you can expect an invoice for 2 hours of billing, $45 dollars of office supplies and the notary fee to verify that I did read this.

Who at E-Commerce Times can I send the bill to?

Posted by: Dwight 2001-11-14 07:34:59 In reply to: Elizabeth Blakey
If the majority of entrepreneurs in the e-commerce field really struggle on the level described here, it is no wonder that the industry is fighting for survival.

But I rather tend to think that this is a shallow article, written by a journalist who either tried to make an article out of the catch phrase "think like a lawyer" or who has only just grasped the way lawyers work.

A discredit to e-commerce times.

Re: Shallow
Posted by: Brian Hall 2001-12-07 01:44:27 In reply to: Dwight
The points made are not shallow. They are at the operational level of a small businessman who is often at cross-purposes with his/her lawyer. The constraints on a lawyer's advice are severe, and often overlooked or not understood by a practical businessman. These differences are somewhat overstated perhaps, but the writer does a service. His portrayal of a lawyer who analyses agreements and obligations from the point of view of specifics and potential "catches" is hardly a put-down.

Re: To Boost a Small E-Business, Out-Lawyer the Lawyers
Posted by: in-house 2001-11-14 03:31:24 In reply to: Elizabeth Blakey
Also as an in-house counsel, I found this article interesting in the partial perception it discloses of the role of lawyers. Most interesting probably was the way it did not point out that a lawyer's reasoning could be based also on the law! Or that it was supposed to integrate the company's culture and business standards as well as the legal environment... which may lead to different solutions. Finally, the author seems to think that a lawyer should come up with THE solution for the business manager asking a question... but if the lawyer did not offer a choice (weighted, with recommendation of the best one from a legal point of view, hopefully), the business manager would start thinking that the lawyer is trying to double guess his work and to meddle in non-legal territory!

Re: To Boost a Small E-Business, Out-Lawyer the Lawyers
Posted by: r 2001-11-13 14:37:36 In reply to: Elizabeth Blakey
As an in-house counsel, I thought this article was insulting and was incorrect-- at least part of the time. A lot of lawyers are savvy about business. A lawyer can also be quite helpful to a starting business-- the right lawyer. Also, once a business has about 40-50 employees, the company should think about hiring a lawyer- a proactive lawyer. Many lawyers are not impediments to a company. Having a lawyer not only saves money and helps a company being proactive as to business and legal issues, but also is instrumental to making deals happen-- there really isn't a separation. A good lawyer is a creative business person who helps make business happen. It is unfortunate and a loss to companies that many companies do not understand the role and the need for a lawyer-- especially in-house counsel. In-house counsel seems to be one of the most misunderstood positions and roles-- maybe marketing is second.
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