Legal advice on TV: the myth and reality

From what we see on TV, you could be forgiven for thinking that legal advice consists almost entirely of defending innocent individuals who have somehow been accused of the most heinous crimes. Such cases are filled with human dramas, conflict, tragedy and sometimes even comedy. There are many legal shows on TV for the simple reason that they provide such drama, but that is not to say that they are a fair reflection of the profession. Much of the rest of legal advice on TV is restricted to adverts for no-fee compensation lawyers. Again, no doubt required but not entirely representative.
The truth is that the vast bulk of legal work concerns the less dramatic but absolutely vital services that lawyers provide in terms of corporate and small business legal advice. Anyone thinking of starting a business might look at government sites and take a sharp intake of breath at the legal requirements. Once the business gets up and running, the demands just get greater. The CIPD have whole sectionson employment law, for example. Another area is contract law, where changes in things like online shopping habits can mean changes in law for companiesby the BBC.

With such a volume and variety of laws and legislation to keep up with, it is vital that the small business owner has ready access to expert legal advice. It is well known that ignorance of the law is not considered by the courts to be an adequate defence. At the same time, the huge range of legal issues that concern the small business makes it impossible for directors and owners to keep up. In addition to not being considered a proper defence, ignorance of the law can be hugely costly to a small business. Finding out in court that you are in the wrong is much too late.

A far better, and less costly, strategy is for the small business to seek out the services of a good legal firm. Having good advice on hand can nip issues in the bud, avoiding costly legal action later. It can also help keep the small business on the right side of government legislation. This sort of legal service may not be quite as dramatic as the programmes that crowd our TV schedules, but there can be no doubt that they can provide dramatic benefits to the small business owner.