Unlocking the Power of Law for Small Businesses: Lessons from “Legally Blonde”by Michelle Bomberger | February 23, 2023
So, I just watched “Legally Blonde” for the first time the other day, because my friend’s daughter was in the high school musical rendition. During the movie, my husband asked what it was about, and I explained that it’s a love story but also about law as a tool for good.
If you haven’t seen it, the movie follows the story of Elle Woods, a sorority girl who enrolls in Harvard Law School to win back her ex-boyfriend. Spoiler alert: In the end, Elle discovers her passion for law and uses her knowledge to defend a wrongly accused client.
When we think of law as a tool for good, we often think of social justice, like juvenile defense, capital defense, immigration, and domestic violence. But can corporate law be a force for good too? Absolutely.
Small Businesses can use law as a force for good
Small businesses are the backbone of the economy, and these business owners work incredibly hard and take on substantial risk to build up their families, their employees, and their communities. When you ask an entrepreneur why they do what they do, you can hear the love in their voice for their people, customers, and community, and the powerful impact they have every day in making others’ lives better.
The knowledge to grow and protect what you love
Now, law plays a part in these entrepreneurs’ worlds, helping them make decisions with confidence. Having the power of law on their side can make a big difference, like when COVID hit in 2020.
We helped a company balance the need for a workplace that had HR structure but also the collegial, family environment that everyone loved. When the owner was overseas and unable to get home quickly, we knew the key players on the team, the risk tolerance of the owner, and their core operations. The business leader and their team were able to act confidently, knowing they had the legal guidance to support their decisions immediately and in the changing landscape over the following years.
So, how can small businesses use the power of law to protect and grow the business they love?
Here are a few examples:
- Protect your intellectual property by registering trademarks, patents, and copyrights. This way, your intellectual property is safe from copycats and competitors.
- Comply with laws and regulations that apply to your industry. This includes things like employment law, tax law, and environmental regulations. By following the rules, you’ll avoid legal trouble and show customers that you’re an ethical business.
- Work with a business lawyer to negotiate fair contracts with suppliers, customers, and partners. This way, you’ll protect your interests and make sure everything is legal and above board.
- If you’re ever involved in a legal dispute, a business lawyer can represent you and work to resolve the issue. This can help you avoid the cost and stress of litigation, and potentially reach a settlement that works for everyone.
- Small businesses can use the power of law to advocate for policy changes that benefit their industry. Whether it’s working with lawmakers to change regulations or filing lawsuits to challenge unfair policies, taking legal action can make a big difference.
Don’t just get legal advice, get legal infrastructure
Instead of just calling your law firm for advice on an issue, what if you had a Chief Legal Officer to proactively provide guidance?
Let’s rewind to the first weeks of COVID. How many businesses called their lawyer? Most did not – they spent time scouring the internet to understand the various federal, state, and local mandates and ordinances, wondering if they were looking at the most updated guidance. More recently, many businesses called their lawyer to incorporate the Silenced No More Act into confidentiality and non-disclosure documents?
Go boldly into the unknown
Having a Chief Legal Officer on your team gives you the freedom and confidence to go boldly and confidently forward, make decisions quickly, and know that you’re protected. With the freedom to think and act in a bigger way, you can have a bigger impact across your community, people, and business, without fear of unknown repercussions.
By using law proactively, small businesses can make informed decisions, protect their interests, and avoid costly legal mistakes. Go boldly knowing that your business is always in compliance with changing laws and regulations.
In a world where the law can be perceived as a tool for those in power, “Legally Blonde” reminds us that we can use the law to help those who are marginalized or who simply don’t have the legal power of mega corps. The movie is a great inspiration for aspiring lawyers and serves as a reminder that the law – especially in the small business world – can be a force for good.
Not sure where to start?
Schedule a complimentary, no-obligation evaluation to identify needs and uncover gaps in your business processes and compliance. It’s a quick way to determine where your business stands, and if Equinox is the right fit for you.