I remember very clearly a conversation I once had with a small business owner who drug his feet on executing a formal agreement with his largest, and most sophisticated client. We worked together on numerous occasions over the course of a couple years, and each time we spoke I recommended that he begin earnest negotiations to finalize it and after each conversation he hemmed and hawed about the price and reminded me how much he trusted that client. The last conversation we had – and the one that has stuck with me over the years – was a conversation in which we talked about his options for closing his business and avoiding personal bankruptcy. His client never lived up to its promises. My client wasn’t protected. And as the smaller fish in the sea, the only choice he had was to wrap up and move on. He was defeated and bankrupt. The “what if” conversations always play through my head. What if he had invested in finalizing the agreement and entered into negotiations with the client. What if he had stood up for himself and protected his business. What if.. what if… what if.
Further adding to my frustration was the fact that most of clients were highly sophisticated – they had robust in-house legal departments, budgets dedicated to protecting their interests and teams of attorneys across the country ready to mobilize when a problem arose. I saw first-hand what access to great legal resources brought to companies and how it could help them grow and achieve their goals. When I left private practice, and moved in-house, I was excited to be a part of one of those teams helping a company shape it strategy and manage its risk all while using my legal knowledge to help forge a path towards a goal.
But in the back of my mind, the “what ifs” still lingered. While I was working with a client that could afford sophisticated legal assistance, I started hearing from business owners who were frustrated that they couldn’t get the access they were looking for. Richmond was in the early stages of its current economic revolution but traditional attorneys were non-responsive, not providing the services they thought they needed or were priced far higher than these businesses could afford. My “what if’s” shifted.
What if there was a better way to provide legal services? What if there was a way to leverage technology to keep overhead down and provide a better product? What if there was a better way to price legal services? What if we could provide education so that our clients understood not only why we recommended doing something but how it could help their business achieve its goals? The “what ifs” seemed endless.
There are over 700,000 small businesses in Virginia. They account for 1.5 million jobs, which is almost half of Virginia’s private workforce. They are creative and innovative – on the forefront of the new economy and maintaining the backbone of our current economy. Their owners are passionate about what they do and inspire others go forth and build great things. Starting Linden Legal Strategies, I knew there was an opportunity to disrupt the traditional legal model in order to better service and protect growing businesses. And so, I hung the proverbial shingle and opened my (virtual) door with a simple mission:
- To provide the best legal services for our clients.
- To break down the barriers that prevent businesses from seeking counsel.
- To educate and empower businesses with the tools necessary for growth.
Today, I’m proud of where we are and what we’ve accomplished. Our clients span all industries, are at all stages of the business cycle and push me to continually strive to do better. And hopefully, as we fulfill our mission and empower our clients, we help diminish their “what ifs” and prevent that dreaded conversation.
This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice nor does it create an attorney-client relationship. Always consult appropriate legal counsel for specific questions related to your business. Some states may consider this attorney advertising.
Stinson Mundy is the founder of Linden Legal Strategies PLLC, a Richmond, Virginia-based law firm focusing on business law and development. To learn more about how Linden Legal Strategies can help you start, grow and protect your business, or to schedule an initial consultation, contact Stinson.