40 per cent of small businesses suffer 'significant' legal problem

Almost 40 per cent of the UK’s small businesses endured a “significant” legal problem over the course of the last year.

This is according to new figures from the Legal Services Board, which suggest that the average cost of each legal issue runs to £6,700. This puts the total cost to UK business at some £100 billion.

Of those problems, nearly 50 per cent concerned other businesses. Some 18 per cent were with individuals, 17 per cent were with the government, and 10 per cent were with employees. Just 5 per cent of small businesses have an in-house legal expert, according to the figures. Some 8 per cent have a legal retainer.

A single legal issue can be crippling for small businesses. It is therefore vital that you take precautions to ensure that you are protected as far as is possible.

How can I protect my business?

Riverview Law is concerned that businesses are not taking legal advice because of the perceived cost. They have compiled a series of guidelines to help small businesses deal with the legal professions.

  1. Get as much as you can for free
    The ‘ticking clock’ is one of the biggest gripes businesses have with lawyers. You should be paying for bespoke legal advice, not a document a lawyer pulls out of a drawer. Look for lawyers that provide free library access to a range of documents and will talk to you for free.

  2. Negotiate hard
    Start your conversation with any firm by saying you require price certainty. If they won’t agree, walk away; there are plenty of lawyers out there who will.

  3. Prevent as well as cure
    Don’t wait for the worst to happen. Take a pro-active approach to your legal affairs by reviewing the areas of your business affected by legislation and getting a legal health check or document review to reduce or eliminate future issues.

Don’t forget insurance

You should also remember the importance of proper business insurance. Legal expenses cover can pay out in the event that you are embroiled in a legal dispute, and is a key precaution to help you guarantee the financial stability of your business.

Every business should have comprehensive business insurance. Legal cover, along with other applicable insurance types, can be included in a single policy. You can compare business insurance quotes quickly and easily using an online broker such as Simply Business.