What do lawyers do for nonprofits? A lot of my clients came to me for the reasons you’d expect – something got hosed up, they received a scary lawyer-letter, they were facing a HUGE problem they knew they couldn’t deal with on their own. But to be honest, I wish that wasn’t why they reached out.
Don’t get me wrong, I love being able to help when the going gets tough, and I love being able to make my clients’ problems feel smaller and less scary. But truthfully, I wish they had reached out WAY before things got scary in the first place.
There are tons of assumptions about lawyers out there – they’re crazy expensive and hard to work with, but they’ll go to court for a fight. They’re aggressive and confrontational. They’re ready to sue someone at the drop of a hat, and they’ll argue their side until they win.
And I get it, that does describe some lawyers. But those aren’t the kind of lawyers you want to have, right?
Jon Tobin talks about this in his really awesome article about what small business lawyers actually do. Some lawyers are fighters. They want to go to court and fight for you, and they’re great when you need them.
But some lawyers are builders.
That’s what I am. I don’t go to court. My work is maybe less flashy, but it’s better for me and for my clients.
I help people build something that is strong and sustainable and successful. It’s not just about fixing problems once the toothpaste is out of the tube. It’s about preventing problems before they happen. It’s about helping nonprofits pursue their mission and make a difference.
Jon Tobin makes a comparison to medical care, and it’s perfect.
Say you’re not feeling super well – your kid came home from school with strep throat, and your beloved little germ factory probably spread it to you. Yuck. Do you go to the doctor now, or do you wait until it becomes a full-blown infection that starts shutting down your kidneys?
Out of a desire to save money, nonprofits usually wait until the kidney starts shutting down to get help. But really, it would have been quicker…and easier…(and way, WAY cheaper) to treat the problem when it was small before it turned into a blazing huge issue.
For new nonprofits, big problems can sometimes sink an amazing idea. And you can usually prevent those big problems by getting the help you need, when you need it.
Trying to make decisions in vacuum and just hoping it all works out is scary and stressful. There’s a better way.
I can help. Learn more here: https://birkenlaw.com/founders-roadmap.