When it comes to providing valuable in-house legal advice for businesses, you should always remember two key rules. You need to remember these rules because these are situations where businesses always get jammed up and wind up deep in the debt as a result.
Immutability in Theory, But Not in Practice
In an ideal world, we would like to think that these principles would be followed absolutely by every business that hires in-house legal counsel. However, more often than not, irrational emotions override any logical wisdom in these matters. Let’s discuss these two key principles of dealing with reality beyond the hypothetical benefits of a bully boss’s purported plans, below
#1: Don’t Ride Out the Wave
It happens so often that someone in a company has a contractual or implied duty to produce a specific work-product, manufactured product, or service for a client. One of the hardest things for any operational business to do is confess that they made an error. Look at how long corporate giants such as GM had covered up defective ignition switches.
Although the employees responsible for this may face consequences and will probably be fired as a matter of principle, higher ranking members who did not commit the error should never cover it up to further the evil when they do learn about it. A skilled lawyer can admit that there was an error in the manufacturing or engineering process, for example, without admitting to any contractual liability.
Being able to distinguish the difference between an excusable error due to factors beyond your control is noble. Engineering is the perfect example because designs that look good on paper may not hold up in the real world. All engineers have the limitations of manufacturing and budget in mind when they design parts and seek to make them as robust as possible but may miss the mark. Take it on the chin and issue a recall asap instead of having a scandalous record following you for the rest of your life.
#2: Don’t File Frivolous Lawsuits
Although it is tempting to intimidate your opponents and shake them down with legal fees to test their endurance strength, you’d best pick your fights wisely. Any company that can’t afford to combat you with competent legal counsel probably doesn’t have any money or assets to collect and are not a real threat to you.
In addition, if they do have competent counsel and your case is frivolous and trying to broaden some gray area of law, you can bet that you will be hit with negative publicity and your opponent’s court fees on top of it.
Furthermore, even if you win on a matter of principle whilst skipping on the fringes of some novel legal theory, you may be unable to prove any damages when the incurred injuries are abstract speculations. No matter how mad you may be that your competitor stole valuable employees that your trained and invested in, who now apply those skills elsewhere, you’d best not file a lawsuit over it.