For many years I have maintained that when a business spends money on legal, it is not a non-income generating expense. The fact is the risk of non or partial compliance is far greater.

Businesses are not dealing with this by engaging a professional – the question then follows… does this mean that many businesses attend to their legal matters? So, startups and SME’s do not only aggressively focus on their businesses, which they should do, but also keep abreast of all the changing regulations that may affect them. This is a time when there is so much to do conceptually. Really?

Alternatively, worse, they do nothing, because they do not see legal risk as any risk whatsoever…Why be “penny wise and pound foolish”, as they say?

This way of thought is, in my opinion, only a cost saving on the surface. If we are genuinely considering savings – what about the cost resulting when something was missed and what about a negative outcome from an oversight? Alternatively, the cost saving of avoiding an avoidable risk?

In my experience as a legal professional, most disputes can be avoided by ensuring legal compliance and further adapting your processes to the ever-changing demands of the regulatory landscape. Few people realise the gravity of the destruction of an avoidable dispute until they receive the related legal bill and end up spending more hours attending to the dispute than on building their business.

In truth, not all disputes can be avoided by planning and advice, but the majority can.