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Role of a Business Attorney in Providing Legal Advice vs Providing Business Advice

Role of a Business Attorney in Providing Legal Advice vs Providing Business Advice

It is pretty typical for a business attorney to be in a situation where the client wants a piece of advice regarding the legality of a matter. Still, he is asking for business advice unintentionally. As a lawyer, one has to draw a line between business and legal consultation. This advice is because originally a lawyer is a legal adviser. Still, the business lawyer can provide business advice to their clients and inform them about the risks and benefits of the business. In this article, the difference between business advice and legal advice will be highlighted to understand the roles of each in their area.

A Business Attorney Makes All The Difference

To understand the difference between legal and business advice, we have to give an example of a scenario that a client, for instance, comes to a business lawyer of a reputable firm like Scottsdale business attorney and the client owns a software company. He asks the lawyer to review a contract that consists of an amendment clause stating that the client can have amendment privileges in case of any claims to the property rights of the other parties. However, the client keeps on insisting the attorney limit the rights of all third-party shareholders, and the third-party shareholders are on the verge to not include that clause in the contract. So when the client asks the lawyer, should I proceed to agree? Of course, every lawyer will answer the client in legal terms and understand all the legal risks included in deciding on the contract. But when the client changes his question to should I take this risk? Then the answer has to revolve around both the business and legal realms.

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Business Decision is Always the Client’s       

Most business attorneys do not have the duty to provide consultation regarding business advice directly. For instance, an in-house attorney for a company will deal with the above-highlighted question should I take the risk? He will provide the consultation based on some risk analysis and various assumptions, but the attorney cannot make the business decision for the client to agree or not. Business attorneys are not obligated to make such business decisions for clients. But they are free to give guidance to their clients regarding business decisions. As in the above example, the lawyer can respond to the question, should I take the risk? In providing the business risk guidance, the client will be better positioned to make the correct decision.

Attorney-Client Privilege

Business advice has some benefits and some drawbacks for attorneys. Benefits for attorneys can be the extra value for their clients, as every client gets legal advice. Still, when they get consultation beyond the standard legal procedures about business decisions, they value that attorney. The drawback is that the lawyer is only qualified to give his advice and is not legally responsible for the advice results.

A business attorney has the opportunities to gain value to their career with proper business advice. But every business attorney should make sure of his business competencies before giving any business advice.

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