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THE 10 GREATEST LEGAL MISTAKES IN BUSINESS...and how to avoid them

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In collaboration with the Business Essentials Daily podcast we present   THE 10 GREATEST LEGAL MISTAKES IN BUSINESS. ..and how to avoid them Series  Episode 1 :   The Ten Greatest Legal Mistakes in Business It is difficult for even the most creative business person to commit entirely new legal mistakes. They've all been done before - many, many times. Often people wait until they are desperate before they see a lawyer about a legal problem - this just seems to be human nature. But you don't need to learn the hard way. You can avoid legal mistakes if you know what is coming. “Good common sense advice on how to avoid costly mistakes”    Bob Ansett "A fantastic way to learn the tricks and traps in the law. Paul’s succinct yet humorous delivery makes a hard subject easy to understand - and the eBook is a fabulous resource to remind us about the lessons. Every business will benefit!"  Michael Schildberger, Business Essentials. What the papers say: American Bar Association

How far are you prepared to go?

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  When the King of Wu interviewed Sun Tzu to be his general, he asked if the principles of the “Art of War” could extend to teaching the King’s 180 concubines to march in formation. The King watched on as Sun Tzu lined up the concubines in two columns and put the two favourite concubines at the head of each column; Sun Tzu explained that when he gave the order to turn right they must turn right, turn left they must turn left. He asked if they understood and they indicated that they did. The drum rolled and he gave the order “Turn Right” at which all the concubines fell about laughing. Sun Tzu explained that when the order is not clear and therefore not understood it is the fault of the general, but when the order is clear and understood yet disobeyed, it is the fault of the officers. So he explained again when he gave the order to turn right they must turn right and turn left they must turn left. They indicated that they understood. He lined up the concubines again in their two columns

Fights with your Friends

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Ask a lawyer a simple question like how much will he charge for drawing up a loan document to lend $50,000 to a friend and you would expect a simple dollar figure answer. However, your lawyer is more likely to respond, “Are you crazy?” Please do not get us lawyers wrong; some of our best friends are, well… friends. However, our experience is that somehow the universe conspires to make it difficult to get repaid by friends promptly, easily, or in some cases, at all. They die, lose their jobs, get dementia, become bankrupt, their daughter gets married or their pet develops an expensive medical condition. All sorts of things happen to make your insistence on repayment seem insensitive and a source of lifetime resentment between you and them. Unlike in dealings with their own children, people expect their friends to repay loans and believe their sincere expressions of intent to do so. You explain to your lawyer that it was your friend who insisted that a legal document be prepared at his e

Fights with Your Employer

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Your new manager is aggressively making his mark. Staff leave, pushed by his new broom, and are replaced by his own team of friends/relatives who take up newly labelled positions on inflated salaries.   You find yourself having to ask him before you can do anything, nothing is good enough and he is terse with you and even raises his voice – it is a bit like being married, although your spouse is commendably less keen to get rid of you on some days. You hear his brother-in-law is in-between jobs and you fear the worst.   Ask yourself two questions: 1.  Can you convince a more senior manager to save you? Normally, unless you are sleeping with one of them, the answer is “No,” but it is worth a try. 2.  Are you too honourable to employ underhand tactics? For instance, does he have any obvious weaknesses, e.g. women or sex? Could an accident be arranged?   If the answer to 1 and 2 is “No,” do not expect a last-minute reprieve; prepare to leave.   As an ageing, but prickly employee, you deci

THY WILL BE DONE -The Ten Commandments of Will Disputes

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  printer friendly version In the average family, there is a lot more money around to argue about. A death in the family can be a slow-motion train wreck that has been coming for years. Different members of the family have diverse interests in the outcome. Lawyers can sort it out in the end, one way or another, but it may be helpful for the family members to know in advance what will happen if they carry on down the track. Here are the ten things you need to know: 1. A person left entirely out of a Will is likely to make a claim A Deceased’s right to leave their money to whoever they please has been eroded. Close relatives can make a claim. It is best to make some payment to try and deter that person from making a claim. 2. Mediations work. It is difficult to say why When I started, we did not do mediations. Ninety-nine per cent of matters settled a few days before the trial or on the steps of the court. Mediations are draining as they often take a full day. Success can turn on what ti

Tone down your IP threats

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A threat is quick, involves little effort, does not commit you to any form of action or expense, and generally is quite satisfying, especially if it is taken seriously. By the time the person being threatened realises that you are not going to take any further action, it may seem too late to do anything effective about it, especially if there is some justification, and they have sensibly kept their head down. However, if you threaten to sue someone for infringement of your IPR, you may receive a counter threat of an Unjustified Threats Action, which can be just as satisfying and a useful response to rival businesses pushing their weight around. The person being threatened can go further and demand an undertaking to cease such threats. Failing to provide the requested undertaking can result in an application to the court for an injunction to stop any further threats being issued, or for a declaration that the threats are not justified. This could be accompanied by a claim for damages, d

Fights with Multinationals

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You are a small business owner who returns to your business to find your wife in tears and your business ravished and brought to a standstill by your new computer system. Multinational computer companies (“multinationals”) offer cheap servers to SMEs (Small to Medium Enterprises).  But if something goes wrong, providing a replacement server does not compensate the SME for data loss, business downtime and a technician’s time.  Do not criticise the multinational itself, but blame their employees’ decisions. This is especially important on social media as an attack on the multinational can just cause the company and employees to circle their wagons. You need to argue that the employee’s actions fall below the standard of the multinational. However, your lawyer’s letters are ignored.  The multinational relies on you not having the money to sue.  But that night, after watching a re-run of Braveheart, you realise Mel Gibson was right, and yet another peaceable, hardworking small business own