When you enter college, start your own business, or join the corporate world, it seems like the world becomes a little more complicated. The amount of paperwork and legal documents you need to read, understand, and sign can become overwhelming. In addition, becoming an adult carries a liability that you never had to worry about before. Codes of conduct, privacy policies, and employment agreements are things that can be confusing. Luckily, not all lawyers speak the foreign language of “lawyer.” Today’s guest is one of the good ones. A lawyer who is here to help us understand the law, protect ourselves and our assets.
Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff.
Mitchell Beinhaker is one of the best business lawyers as ranked by Super Lawyers for 2021. His practice is in New Jersey, and you can check out all of his services on his webpage. He has also authored an e-book entitled “A Parent’s Survival Guide When Sending Your Kid To College,” which you can download HERE for free (Thanks Mitchell). I think everyone should take at least one law class in college to be a better and more informed professional. It would also help to understand the terminology a little when you have to hire an attorney. I learned a bit from our discussion, and I know you will too. So please enjoy my chat with Mitchell Beinhaker.
There is a lot we can learn from speaking with a lawyer like Mitchell. He can explain technical legal things and why you need to do them. From our conversation, here are the items we can put into action today to get a good start:
Get “Lawyerly”: One of the things I thought about while speaking with Mitchell was that anyone could benefit from understanding the law better. You do not need to be a lawyer or even have the desire to be one to take a law class. Udemy has a ton of “Intro to Business Law” and similar courses, and many cost less than a week’s worth of Starbucks. Classes like these are no replacement for a lawyer, and I always recommend consulting a professional attorney to protect yourself and others. The purpose for you as a professional is to become a better-informed consumer. You will need to hire a lawyer at some point. Being able to ask the right questions can only come from knowing what you may need and finding the right lawyer to help you. Sign up for an intro class today, so you are more prepared for tomorrow.
Put Things In Writing: When you are paying someone or being paid to do a task, writing down the deliverables and having everyone agree is critical. A simple misunderstanding can cause significant problems later on during a project. By writing all the payment terms, due dates, and responsibilities down on paper, you can avoid those misunderstandings. Somebody verbally telling you what they agree to is one thing; having the paperwork to back it up is called being professional. I always say to my clients, “here is a project document spelling everything out for you and me. Can you please sign it if you agree, so we both are accountable to each other?” There are many templates online for primary documents, but seeking out a professional is essential for contracts, business agreements, and documents. When I say it may seem expensive to get a lawyer to do it, I speak from experience; it will cost a lot more if you do not have it down in writing and done correctly.
Build A Contact List? You meet people every day and never talk to them regularly, although you mean to keep in contact. Go through your contacts today and build a list of people to reach out to regularly. Then, every couple of months, you should send that list of contacts a brief update email of what you are doing and, most importantly, ask them about what they are doing. Ask them if they need help to reach out to you. The important thing is to offer your assistance to others and not always talk about yourself. Reaching out to this list in this way will build equity and keep you top of mind. If you want to know more about this type of communication, be sure to reach out to me to sign up for one of my Relationship building and networking seminars.
Even though we do not like to think about it, legal stuff is a part of grown-up life. We all have to protect ourselves and our assets. The more you can understand the law, the more informed you will be to recognize when you need a professional’s help and what you may need. Do not be afraid of the law; instead, get an understanding of it so you can conduct yourself in a safe, protected, and professional manner always.
I appreciate feedback of all kinds, so please email me any questions or feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org. Have a great week, and remember, it doesn’t take a lot to get a good start; you just have to start. Thank you.