Lawyers, put your business hats on.

Ok, here we consider law students as lawyers too, because we have faith in you, but really, on your next letter applying to a law firm or to an in-house counsel environment, whether for a summer student position or for an articling position, highlight that you know the importance of the business awareness when advising a client. We often stress and highlight unfailingly our legal skills such as legal research and legal writing, but we fail to express that we are not legal robots, and can think “outside the box”.

The legal community is a box, where we wittingly try to out clever ourselves with our colourful legal arguments and technicalities. But as a unique and cunning budding lawyer, you know more. It is simply professionally and financially damning to sue an entity for small amounts when your client actually yields more profits to their business than those owed. This means that you might want to advise your clients not to sue an entity, for example, when that entity generates more profit for your client than that small amount owed. If a company benefits your business more than it hurts it, a law suit might not be the answer. Business decisions surround all aspects of the dealings of your clients. Legal actions (or lack thereof) are and ought to be centered around the business and cost-effective decisions your clients should take. People go to court, unequivocally, to recuperate losses to dignity, health, expectation and all sorts of other reasons, generally quantified in a dollar amount. For that reason, your client, whether individually or as a business needs to know how to best save and recuperate owed money, without paying for unnecessary (and, more often than not, potentially unsuccessful) actions and legal fees.

This article is not meant to advise on how to make sound business decisions when advising a client, but it is merely to tell you to consider them. Having a commercial knack is not necessarily hard to acquire (it is in fact easy), but the key to unlocking those smart commercial decisions is simply information. This simply means that you have to be diligent when getting information from your client as to his business dealings; not intrusively, but sufficiently enough not to miss something financially beneficial for them.