Basic Training: Find a LOCAL Attorney!

By Nina Kaufman, Esq.

Why won’t just any ol’ attorney do?

This is the situation: Unlike many other careers/vocations, attorneys have to be specifically licensed to practice law.  Licenses are granted by a particular state.  That means that we have to take (and pass) an exam qualifying us to practice law because, as many of you may know, a little knowledge can be dangerous, and we’re entrusted with a very special role. Just because I’m licensed in a state (in my case, New York) doesn’t mean I have the knowledge or the qualifications (or the license) to practice law in any other state.

Not just any attorney will do.  I was once approached by an entrepreneur from India, wondering if I could help him franchise his juice bar idea . . .  in India.  The amount of knowledge I have about Indian law could fill a thimble.  Actually, less than a thimble. I haven’t the foggiest idea what Indian law says about the subject of franchising.  And in my line of work, giving advice about something I know nothing about could be v-e-r-y dangerous and result in the downfall of the business.

Using an attorney who’s not licensed in your state (for matters that really do and can involve state law, like business formation, business owner agreements, contracts, employee issues, franchising and licensing) is like hiring inexperienced contractors to build your house. If they don’t know what they’re doing, the whole structure could collapse on your head.

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