In the dynamic world of business, small enterprises often find themselves navigating through a myriad of challenges, and ensuring legal protection is paramount. One effective tool that small businesses can utilize to proactively manage their legal affairs is the legal audit. A legal audit is not only effective at minimizing a business’s risk, and thus increasing its overall value, but it also ensures legal best practices within various contexts— such as contractual agreements, asset protection, and employment practices.
Understanding Legal Audits
A legal audit is a comprehensive review by your legal counsel of your business’s legal affairs, policies, and procedures to ensure compliance with applicable laws and regulations. It also involves an in-depth examination of contracts, employment practices, intellectual property, and other legal aspects to evaluate the impact on the business and to ensure best practices to optimize the business’s rights and corresponding the obligations. Legal counsel then works to comprehensively review the business and build a plan to protect the business.
Preparing for a Legal Audit
Start by organizing all your key legal documents, such as contracts, employee handbooks, and government filings. Your legal counsel will do an extensive review of these documents, as well as your policies and actual practices, including employment practices (such as hiring, termination, and workplace policies), contractual obligations (such as determining if parties are performing their obligations), and intellectual property protection (such as confirming proper filing and that infringement is not actively occurring). This review will allow your legal counsel to thoroughly assess all of your business’s rights and obligations. From here your legal counsel will identify what risks exist and how to mitigate such risks moving forward.
Your legal counsel will work with your management team to establish a plan to address any issues, and avoid others as you continue to grow your business. This may include strategies to (i) strengthen the protection of the business’s trademarks by registering with the USPTO, (ii) reduce the risk of lawsuits from employees by implementing a tiered discipline system, or (iii) better position you in a dispute with a vendor by revising your standard dispute resolution provisions in your contracts. Each plan will be narrowly tailored to the business’s risks and growth strategy. Adopting the plan developed by your legal counsel will help the long term growth of your business by building a solid foundation for sustained success.
If you would like assistance in conducting a legal audit for your business, please contact us at 305-222-7282 or Info@Ser-Associates.com.
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