The general excuse for not consulting a lawyer is that is costs too much.  At Cooke & Hutchinson Lawyers, we will meet with you for 30 minutes completely free of charge.  After that meeting, we will advise and inform you of the work we see needs to be done, and give you a fixed price for doing that work.  The benefit you will have is knowing your legal vulnerabilities and knowing what it costs to fix them.

If you are like most people, you will think that calling a lawyer means you are in serious trouble whether with your business or personal life.  This is a common misconception because people associate lawyers with going to court and only becoming involved when everything is falling apart.  This could not be further from the truth.

The reality is that if most people contacted a lawyer for the positive events in life, it would save that trip to court later on.  Some of the positive events are: buying or selling a business, buying or selling a property or even applying for a loan.  Many people think that business contracts, property contracts and even loans are all ‘standard’ documents.  This is not the case. 

Business contracts usually require amending and special conditions are frequently added.  This is the same for property contracts because not all business are the same and not all properties are the same.  Some businesses require retention clauses as they have large client lists, and some property contracts require extensive due diligence clauses due to its location.  None of these clauses are included in the ‘standard’ contracts and could mean the difference between buying a lemon or not.   

Loans are difficult to negotiate however it can be done with the assistance of a lawyer.  The main benefit from a lawyer reviewing your loan agreement and providing you with advice is you will know how much the bank can charge, how the guarantees operate and how the mortgage (or other security) needs to be managed.  Not all of the costs associated with a loan are set out in the schedule and if you are provided with advice before you sign the loan this could save you entering into a loan that has burdensome fees.  Knowing your legal rights in relation to a loan is one of the most empowering positions you can be in and will assist with negotiations of the loan in the future.

A Lease is another document which requires legal advice.  Again, most people assume that all leases are ‘standard’ however every single lease is different.  There are no standard clauses that must be in every lease, the landlord can insert whatever they like as long as it adheres to legislation.  This means that landlords can dictate certain trading hours for your business and require you to pay for marketing and other costs.  You could also unknowingly breach the lease easily if you do not receive legal advice beforehand. 

As a general guide, you should see a lawyer when:

  • Signing a legal document, or any kind of contract;
  • Preparing a will;
  • Entering into a lease;
  • Buying or selling property;
  • Buying or selling a business;
  • You receive any kind of claim for any Court;
  • Setting up a business or changing your business structure;
  • Negotiating financial changes (such as loans);
  • The goods or services you have paid for are defective.

So, if you are currently considering one of the items listed above, and you know you can meet with a lawyer for 30 minutes for free, what is your excuse for not seeing a lawyer?