As Crosby, Stills and Nash Sang: “So We Change Partners, Time to Change Partners, You Must Change Partners!”

Let me tell you a story of two companies: “Transco,” the savvy, cost-conscious, transactional company whose leadership team relies on their expertise to see them through both challenges and good times, and “Stratco,” a long-range-thinking company that focuses on building relationships to advance their business goals through good times and bad.

It just so happens that Transco and Stratco enter agreements to buy certain assets of different companies at about the same time. While their stories begin the same, however, they have very different outcomes.

Transco, of course, hires a transactional attorney to help with the acquisition. After the transaction, since there is no further need for the transactional attorney, Transco ends the relationship and has no other legal representation going forward. Following the acquisition, a creditor/debtor controversy arises, with several difficult issues, including whether the debt is even a debt of Transco.

Transco does not seek legal advice, but, being astute business people, decide they can handle the situation themselves. When that strategy fails and Transco is sued, Transco hires yet another specialist: a “litigator.” The litigator proceeds to take all the requisite steps, as any qualified litigator would, and professionally defends the case. The litigation continues until Transco’s bank account is attached. Now, the most likely outcome is that Transco will be going out of business.

Stratco, in contrast, hired an attorney with experience acting as the general counsel for companies like it and dealing with all of the issues those companies face to help it through the initial transaction, and it retained that attorney after the transaction as well. When, like Transco, Stratco was faced with debtor/creditor issues raising the same difficult issues, it was able to turn to its attorney, who understood its business, its needs, and its financial circumstances, to help it develop a strategy for dealing with the claims as part of its overall business operations that was proactive rather than reactive. With this approach, Stratco continues to be in active discussions with the creditor concerning their dispute, and it continues to grow and expand its business.

The key lesson to be learned from these examples is clear: Transco never understood the importance of finding an attorney who can work with them as a partner.

I am happy to be able to say that “Stratco” relies on me to understand their business, thoroughly think about their business goals and apply my years of experience to provide advice based on principled thinking that not only has their back, but their future as well. Stratco relies on me to be a listener, a mentor, and to learn the nuts and bolts of their business. By being actively involved with Stratco, I am able to be in a position to know what truly matters to Stratco’s business and give unvarnished advice at critical junctures, while keeping an eye on the full spectrum of their legal issues.

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