There are many reasons why a qualified, specialist lawyer should be preferred over an industry consultant.
The Law Society of Western Australia produced a publication in 2017 entitled “People Unlawfully Engaging in Legal Work: Protecting the Community” which identifies the risks and other problems associated with non-lawyers performing legal work.
It is a common misconception that consultants are cheaper than lawyers. You may be surprised to know that lawyers’ fees are usually comparable with the consultants and in fact sometimes cheaper, particularly if new issues or complications arise.
Lawyers are highly regulated and subject to very strict professional conduct rules, whereas industry consultants are not. Lawyers are also covered by appropriate insurance.
Clients of lawyers have the protection of obligatory disclosure and reporting requirements. This means a lawyer should keep you informed as to the status of your application and the associated costs. A consultant is not bound by any such obligations.
Lawyers are required to disclose their fee estimates upfront for an agreed scope of work. Additional work required to be done that would attract further costs is to be discussed with and agreed upon by the client. Monies paid upfront to lawyers are held in a strictly controlled trust account and only used and applied with your authority.
Engaging a lawyer will also mean that you receive the benefit of legal professional privilege and a heightened level of confidentiality. Legal professional privilege allows a client to have a full and frank discussion with their lawyer and seek advice on issues without fear that they may be compelled to disclose that advice at some later date.
Unlike consultants, lawyers are required to have completed accredited tertiary training and be formally admitted to practise law. Lawyers are also subject to continuing professional development requirements where training and knowledge is regularly refreshed. Non-lawyers usually only have very limited expertise, are often unqualified and unlikely to be able to assist with the wide range of issues that lawyers potentially can. For example, when considering starting up a licensed venue, one might also seek advice in respect of leasing, employment issues, contract negotiation, loan agreements, trade marks, protecting one’s personal assets and a range of other things.
You can expect work completed by a lawyer to be of a high standard, transparency with respect to fees and greater value for your money.
If you would like to know more about how Lavan’s Liquor, Hospitality and Events team can help you and add value to your business, please feel free to contact us.