Why Do I Need a Lawyer?
Recently when we have been out at events speaking with competitors, grooms and other people about what we do, we have noticed that a comment we often hear is ‘I don’t need a lawyer’. There are however very good reasons to have a lawyer, even if you are not currently in a dispute.
Prevention is Key
Many people in the horse industry participate as a small business, such as a riding instructor, boutique retailer, boarding and training operation or coaching business. All businesses have legal requirements to meet, and practical requirements which may raise legal issues such as safety considerations.
For example, if you are accepting horses onto your property for boarding or training, you should have a contract in place which addresses all the situations where things typically go awry in that scenario. This means that the terms are clear to all parties which reduces arguments involving the contract should a party be in breach. You will also be more confident in what to do if a sticky situation evolves. If you have lawyers that you work with regularly, they will be familiar with the terms of the contracts you use because they drafted them, and they can easily advise you should any issues arise.
Other areas all businesses typically need assistance with include intellectual property, employment law, taxation law, and property law. Lawyers can often assist you in finding other help you may need, such as an accountant with experience in the issues your business is facing, and they can work with your accountant to ensure your business management practices meet the legal requirements and function efficiently and cost effectively. Good business practices can be a little like preventative medicine – many problems can be avoided or reduced in severity by the appropriate practices being in place. This also tends to reduce the cost of dealing with any problems that do arise!
If your business spends a smaller amount on preventive services such as these, it not only reduces the risk of problems later down the track, but it also puts your business in a good position should a dispute arise. It means your business will already have a relationship with a trusted advisor if urgent legal work is needed.
Even if you are an amateur owner who is riding for pleasure, you will benefit from having such a relationship with a lawyer as everyone needs a will, and most people will need other legal work done from time to time such as when they buy or sell property. We also strongly recommend that you have a sale contract in place if you are buying or selling horses, regardless of whether you have a business or not.